UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio — A decade after battling a rare illness that nearly killed him and kept him off the golf course for seven years, Gene Sauers celebrated his first victory on the senior tour.

Sauers closed with a 1-under 69 and took advantage of another collapse by Miguel Angel Jimenez to win the rain-delayed U.S. Senior Open on Monday.

The 53-year-old from Georgia finished with three straight pars to go from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot victory over Jimenez and Billy Mayfair at Scioto Country Club. He finished with a 3-under 277 for the tournament.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “It’s been a long time, and I’m at a loss for words right now.”

The victory caps an amazing comeback for Sauers 10 years removed from nearly dying. He was incorrectly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, spent seven weeks in the hospital and was given a 25 percent chance of survival.

Eventually he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare disorder of the skin and mucous membranes that causes the skin on the extremities to burn from the inside out.

Some days, he couldn’t even get off the couch.

“It means the world to me,” he said. “I saw the light at the end of that tunnel, and I was heading there. The good Lord stopped me and backed me up and said, no, you’re not done yet. It’s just unbelievable to not play golf, not touch a golf club for seven years and to come out and to win a major golf tournament on a hard golf course.”

Jimenez had a one-shot advantage going into the final round but again blew a lead. He led Sauers by a stroke to start the day but double-bogeyed the second hole, and Sauers birdied to overtake him. The Spaniard regained the lead with a birdie on the 15th hole, a two-shot swing when Sauers made bogey, only to bogey the 17th hole.

They were tied on the 18th, but Jimenez made a second straight bogey while Sauers made a 5-foot par putt to win.

Sauers had 17 top-10 finishes in five years on the senior tour but hadn’t managed a win. He last won a PGA Tour event in 2002. He is now exempt into the U.S. Open next year.

WORLD CUP: Jason Day and Adam Scott will be playing for the Australian flag in the World Cup of Golf this November at Kingston Heath in Melbourne, Australia.

Commitments were announced Monday just one day after golf made a strong return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence. Day and Scott, both among the top 10 in the world, did not play in the Rio Games.

Masters champion Danny Willett will play for England with Lee Westwood.

The Americans will be represented by Bubba Watson, who has not yet selected his partner. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, the top two Americans, chose not to play in the World Cup, giving the spot to Watson.