COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) The 29th U.S. Senior Open will be remembered for the black bears that menaced The Broadmoor's East Course - and the one cat who conquered it.
Eduardo "El Gato" Romero on Sunday became the second Argentine golfer to hoist the silver cup, 28 years after Roberto De Vicenzo won the trophy at Winged Foot.
"This is very important, very important because we're working hard for golf in Argentina," Romero said after the biggest win of his career. "I'm back to Argentina with this cup! It's mine!"
The 54-year-old Romero shot a 3-over 73 in the final round and, despite four straight bogeys on the back nine, he was never seriously challenged by Fred Funk (75), who finished four strokes back.
Romero, who finished at 6-under 274 and won $470,000, is anticipating a hero's welcome when he returns Monday to Villa Allende in central province of Cordoba, the same city where his compatriots held a parade for 2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, whom Romero once sponsored on the European Tour.
Romero got a post-round congratulatory phone call from De Vicenzo, the godfather of golf in Argentina, who told him the country was already celebrating his triumph.
Romero pumped his right fist and spun around in excitement after sinking a 45-footer for birdie on No. 10, but his emotions quickly turned as he bogeyed the next four holes.
At that point, Romero said he began to think back to another infamous implosion.
"I remember Greg Norman when he lost the (1996) Masters and he started to make bogeys and never stopped," Romero said. "I said to my caddie, 'I have to make a putt, just one putt.'"
He got what he needed on No. 15.
But it was two holes earlier that he began to exhale.
Despite bogeying the par-4 13th, Romero walked off the green having picked up two strokes on Funk, whose triple-bogey doubled his deficit to four shots and put him in, well, a funk.