2004: Winner Walters faces decisions

Adelaide, Australia

Australian Euan Walters now will be able to enjoy a lavish meal with his growing family.

Walters, who said he helped feed his wife and two children – and a third on the way – with vouchers from a friend’s McDonald’s, now has money to upgrade to a four-star restaurant.

Walters, 33, shot a final-round 68 Feb. 22 to finish at 9-under-par 275 for a five-shot victory at the Nationwide Tour’s Jacob’s Creek Open. Walters collected a tour-high $145,587. Fellow Aussies Brendan Jones (71), 1990 PGA Championship winner Wayne Grady (71) and Anthony Painter (72) tied for second at 4-under 280.

“I am very excited about what has happened but it has not yet sunk in,” said Walters, who drove 1,000 miles from Sydney to Adelaide in an old car with 250,000 miles on the odometer in order to play in the event. After the victory, he planned to drive 500 miles to his hometown of Melbourne.

In the last two years, Walters has undergone a fitness program and diet and has lost about 100 pounds.

“All I know is that people have been calling me a battler. I guess I am now a rich battler,” Walters said. “I know it opens up all sorts of possibilities for me. We had been saving up to take the kids to Movie World in Queensland. Maybe now we will take Joshua, Elijah and Minus Four Weeks (his third child is on the way) to Disneyland.”

Grady was pleased by Walters’ performance.

“I’m glad for Euan,” said Grady, chairman of the Australasian PGA Tour. “It is a great opportunity for him to play in the United States. I think he will do well over there. If you have the game to win here and you go over there and apply yourself, you have a chance to do well. Quite a few of our players have advanced to the big tour through the Nationwide Tour.”

Walters started the day with a one-shot lead and secured his victory with birdies at Nos. 13 and 17.

Walters, who was to play at the New Zealand PGA Championship Feb. 26-29, has plenty to consider with his new status on the Nationwide Tour.

“It’s going to be a family decision more than anything,” he said of

playing the full Nationwide Tour schedule in the United States, which he is now eligible to do.

– Staff and wire reports

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