By Bob Sutton
When Wyndham Championship tournament director Mark Brazil began a congratulatory announcement at the 2010 trophy presentation for champion Arjun Atwal, he commented on “what a week it had been.”
In this case, it could have served as a literal assessment of Atwal’s journey that ended with a par putt on the 18th hole at Sedgefield Country Club to protect a one-shot victory on David Toms.
It was a bunch of “firsts” for Atwal, who shot four rounds of 67 or better to close at 20-under 260 and win on the PGA Tour for the first time in his 120th start.
“Until it happens, you keep doubting yourself,” he said. “And, believe me, I had my doubts teeing it up with the lead.”
Atwal, who lost his PGA Tour card when after an injury, began his tournament in a Monday qualifier at Forest Oaks Country Club. That’s when Atwal shot 67 to become one of four qualifiers from the site to make it into the tournament field.
“As soon as we Monday qualified, I said I had nothing to lose,” Atwal said. “Just go out there and try to win it. I don’t have a card or anything. Just go out and free wheel it.”
So it was a full week for Atwal, a 37-year-old who became the tour’s first Monday qualifier to go on to win a tournament since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open. He’s also the first native of India to win on the tour.
It was so competitive atop the leaderboard that with five holes remaining for the final group there was a seven-way tie for first place.