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Birdie barrage earns Todd first win in five years

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By Reuters
Birdie barrage earns Todd first win in five years
FILE PHOTO: Feb 11, 2016; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; PGA golfer Brendon Todd tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports   -   Copyright  Brian Spurlock(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Brendon Todd ended five years of frustration as the American shot a career best nine-under 62 to win the inaugural Bermuda Championship by four strokes on Sunday.

Defying his world number 525 ranking, Todd rolled in 10 birdies, seven of them in a row, against one bogey for the second PGA Tour victory of his up-and-down career and first since 2014.

His 24-under 260 made him a comfortable winner over third round leader Harry Higgs, who closed with a 68 at Port Royal in Southampton.

Fellow Americans Hank Lebioda (63), Aaron Wise (65), Brian Gay (67) and Scottie Scheffler (66) tied for third at 18 under.

“A year ago I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep playing, so it’s really special to get this win this soon,” the 34-year-old Todd told Golf Channel.

“I’m just overcome with emotion.”

Winner of the 2014 Byron Nelson, he climbed to 42nd in the world rankings before losing his PGA Tour card in 2016.

“Ball-striking yips. Hitting a 4-iron like 50 yards right out of play every round and I did that for like two years,” Todd told Global Golf Post in May.

He missed 37 of 41 cuts from 2016-18 before regaining his PGA Tour card this year by the minor league Korn Ferry Tour this year.

Along the way he read a book by golfer Bradley Hughes and began working with the Australian-born writer.

“I went and saw him and it’s just kind of been a home run ever since,” Todd said in the May interview.

Still, Sunday’s sparking performance was not expected by a golfer who missed a pair of cuts before tying for 28th at October’s Houston Open.

After rounds of 68, 63 and 67, Todd began the final day two strokes behind Higgs.

Following a par at his opening hole, the American made seven birdies in a row, completing the turn in 29 strokes after a par at the ninth.

Birdies at the 10th, 11th and 15th added to dream round before a bogey at the last.

“We had nice weather today,” the American said. “The golf course we had been playing under heavy winds felt easy to me today.

“I just felt like I was going to play a good round, and when I got the lead, I was able to kind of relax and hit shots. “

Higgs needed a comeback to finish second.

A double bogey at the seventh put him one over for the round, but he grabbed birdies at the 10th and 14th and topped off the day with an eagle at the par-five 17th.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)