2001: PGA Tour - Cook shares storyline
Sometimes the top storyline at a tournament isn’t necessarily found at the top spot on the leaderboard.
But John Cook, 43, didn’t mind sharing the spotlight after shooting 64 to roar back from a six-stroke deficit at the Reno-Tahoe Open Aug. 26 and earn his first PGA Tour victory in three years. Cook provided his share of drama, but much of the attention went to Bryce Molder. And Charles Howell III. And the collapse of Jerry Kelly.
Molder, a four-time All-American at Georgia Tech playing in his first PGA Tour event as a pro, finished two strokes behind Cook and ended up in third place at 15-under 273.
Molder, 22, entered Sunday one shot off the lead but struggled through an inconsistent 71. He earned $204,000, and considered himself fortunate.
“I just never really got in a rhythm with my golf swing,” Molder told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I am pretty lucky to shoot 1 under. I hung in there and I think I can learn more and do better next time.”
Molder was not surprised with his successful debut.
“I already know I’m ready to play out here,” Molder said. “I expected if I played well I could be right there.”
Howell, 22, who entered the final round two shots off Kelly’s 15-under lead, also shot 71 Sunday and finished fourth. Howell has five top-10 finishes on the year.
Both Cook and Kelly, who made triple bogey on No. 16 Sunday to drop out of the lead, said today’s young guns are a different breed.
“A lot of these guys are not as intimidated as we used to be,” said Kelly, who shot 71 Sunday and finished second at 16 under.
Said Cook: “These guys are different. They want to take your heart out and smile while they’re doing it.”
It was Cook’s heart, however, that made the difference in the final round. He was so far off the lead heading into Sunday, he thought he would shoot for fourth place, then jump on a plane to Los Angeles to have dinner with his daughter.
“It was a big surprise,” said Cook, who went 69-64-74-64–271 to earn $540,000. “I played so badly (Saturday) I was embarrassed to be out here to tell you the truth.
“Trying to stay competitive in your mid-40s is not easy.”
The victory at Reno was the 11th in his 22-year PGA Tour career. He entered the tournament 28th on the career money list with $8.7 million but has topped the $1 million mark only twice in the last 10 years.
He said he was so embarrassed by his play in 1999 (two top 10s) that he “didn’t even want to play golf” but has seen steady improvement over the past six months.
His comeback Sunday was one of the biggest in a final round on Tour this year, equaling the six strokes David Toms made up to win the Compaq Classic of New Orleans. The biggest deficit was the seven strokes Davis Love III overcame to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
– From staff and wire reports