Crenshaw ends 2-year victory drought, slipping past Norman at Western Open

July 06, 1992

LEMONT, Ill. -- Ben Crenshaw broke one two-year streak and extended another with his victory yesterday over Greg Norman in the Western Open.

Crenshaw used a late, two-stroke swing to leap-frog over Norman and claim his first victory since 1990.

"After not playing so well for a couple of years, you begin to wonder, to have your doubts," he said.

While Crenshaw's questions were answered and his mind eased, Norman's two-year non-winning string was extended with second consecutive galling, frustrating runner-up finish in this event.

But it wasn't a two-man battle.

"There were a lot of guys [who] had opportunities to win this tournament," Crenshaw said. "I was just lucky."

Among those in the title hunt at one point or another over the last nine holes were Masters champ Fred Couples, Chip Beck, Duffy Waldorf and Blaine McCallister.

One by one they all dropped away until Crenshaw came to the final hole needing a par to stay in front of the grim-faced, grinding Norman.

He had to make a 5-foot second putt to get it, and was rewarded with a hug from 4-year-old daughter Katherine, who ran onto the green after the ball found the hole.

Norman, playing behind him, needed a birdie on the 18th to force a tie. He got his approach about 20 feet below the hole. His birdie putt stopped inches short and the non-winning string kept running.

Crenshaw scored the 16th victory of his 20-season career with a 69 and a 276 total, 12-under par on the Dubsdread course at Cog Hill.

The victory was worth $198,000 from the total purse of $1.1 million and pushed his year's earnings to $390,473.

Norman, who blew a five-shot lead when he played the final nine holes in 41 in this event a year ago, had to come back from a bogey-bogey-bogey start to get himself in contention this time.

He came back and, at one point, held the lead alone. But Crenshaw's 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th while Norman was three-putting the 16th for bogey, flipped their standings.

"I'm disappointed, of course," Norman said. "I wanted to win. But I'm encouraged, too. I'm doing all the right things. I'm almost all the way back."

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