Barry Evans struggled home after a brilliant start, before capturing the 35th PGA Professional National Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

The 40-year-old PGA head professional at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston, W.Va., Evans spent a restless night with a one-stroke lead, after posting the best 18-hole round of the week (66). Evans opened the final round with a birdie and owned a six-stroke lead by the time he reached the 11th tee. He then went on a bogey-bogey-double bogey stretch, before grinding his way to three straight pars. His two-putt par from 35 feet gave him a two-stroke triumph over Mike Gilmore, the head professional atWheatley Hills Golf Club in East Williston, N.Y.

Evans’ final-round 3-over-par 75 tied Bruce Zabriski (1997) and Jeff Freeman (1999) for the highest final round by a Champion.

Don Berry, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., and another Tri-State member, Sean Farren, ofOakmont, Pa., tied for third at 284, while 2000 Champion Tim Thelen, of Richmond, Texas, and TimWeinhart, ofDuluth, Ga., shared fifth at 285. Suzy Whaley, of Farmington, Conn., the first woman to compete in the National Championship, missed the 36-hole cut of 7-over-par 151 by five strokes.