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Former St. Xavier standout Thomas wins SEC men's golf title

Justin Thomas shot out of a bunker on the 15th hole during the first round of the Junior PGA Championship.
Justin Thomas shot out of a bunker on the 15th hole during the first round of the Junior PGA Championship.

Alabama freshman Justin Thomas shot a final-round 68 to lead the Crimson Tide to the Southeastern Conference title. The St. Xavier graduate, who finished at 7 under, edged teammate Bobby Wyatt by two shots for the individual championship at St. Simons Island, Ga.

Alabama held off a late charge by Auburn to win by six shots. Kentucky shot 8 over in the final round to finish seventh.

"It got a little nerve racking toward the end when it got close, but the guys did a great job down the stretch," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. "Justin has had a remarkable season and that was evident today. What he has done this year is truly amazing, and he has put himself in the mix for both SEC and national player of the year honors."

It was Thomas' school-record tying third tournament victory of the season.

Kentucky's top finishers were Joseph Barr and Stephen Powers, who were tied for 19th.

Brown rallies for NGA win

After winning an NGA Tour-high four times last season, Brandon Brown got his first victory of 2012 on Sunday at Cross Creek Plantation in Seneca, S.C.

Brown, a former Eastern Kentucky University standout who is from Shelbyville, shot a 7-under 64 in the final round of the Mountain Lakes Classic to force a playoff with 54-hole leader Nick Rousey. Brown won on the third extra hole.

"It was an awesome day," Brown said. "I knew I needed to get off to a good start and I did. I was just fortunate enough to play a good round when Nick didn't have his best stuff."

Brown started the final round seven shots behind Rousey, but he needed just six holes to pull into contention. Back-to-back birdies to start the day were followed by three more on Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

"When you start seven shots back, you're not looking to win," Brown said. "But with five birdies in the first six holes, that was the momentum I needed."

Paducah's Rick Cochran III was also in contention, but a bogey on No. 18 left him out of the playoff.

Curtis' win first since '06

Ben Curtis won the Texas Open for his first PGA Tour title since 2006, holding off Matt Every and John Huh in a tense back-nine finish for a two-stroke victory in San Antonio.

Curtis birdied the par-5 18th for an even-par 72 and 9-under total. It was a redeeming and emotional win for the 2003 British Open winner whose long slump relegated him to status so low that the victory came in only the fourth PGA Tour event that he managed to get into this year.

Curtis calmly hugged his caddie after coolly sinking the clinching 12-footer, but then fought back tears just moments later while being interviewed.

"It's been a tough couple years just fighting through it," Curtis said.

Curtis wasn't the only emotional player on No. 18. Scott Piercy walked to the final hole tied for fourth at 5 under but walked off snapping his putter in half with two furious strikes over his knee. That was after the tour journeyman quadruple-bogeyed in a meltdown that started with a penalty stroke and ended with him tossing his glove in disgust after two-putting.

Other tournaments

Champions Tour: Michael Allen, with a little help from David Frost, has gone from practically unknown on the Champions Tour to practically unbeatable.

Allen and Frost shot a better-ball 10-under-par 62 Sunday for 29-under 187 and a one-stroke victory over John Cook and Joey Sindelar in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf championship in Savannah, Ga.

Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship, then went winless in 40 consecutive events until winning at TPC Tampa Bay last week. Now, he's the top money-winner on the senior circuit.

"God, it took so long to win the second one," Allen said. "Then, I had the breakthrough last week. It was great having David on my side. I've never won two real tournaments in a row in my life. Now, I know my kids will jump all over me and tell me how great I am."

Asian Tour: Third-ranked Lee Westwood defended his Indonesian Masters title with a two-stroke victory despite a shaky final round.

Westwood, who completed his delayed third round with a 7-under 65 to take an eight-shot lead in the morning, shot a 2-over 74 in his final round.

"It is never easy playing in these conditions and I had to play 32 holes," Westwood said. "I was really feeling it on the back nine. When you are in contention and under pressure, it seems to zap your energy faster."

European Tour: Branden Grace won the China Open for his third European Tour victory of the year, closing with a 3-under 69 to hold off 2011 winner Nicolas Colsaerts by three strokes.

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