2004: Wetterich finds winning touch

Sandy, Utah

Brett Wetterich is one of the Nationwide Tour’s longest hitters, but it was time on the practice green the past two weeks that lifted him to a one-stroke victory Aug. 29 at the Envirocare Utah Classic.

Despite a final-round 71, his worst score of the week, Wetterich edged Franklin Langham (66) and Ryuji Imada (67) for his second Nationwide Tour title.

“Over the last four weeks I’ve been hitting the ball really well but I haven’t made a putt,” he said. “I was having five or six 3-putts every week, and it was killing me.”

A slight change in his putting stance helped reverse that trend, and opening rounds of 67-69-65 moved Wetterich into a two-stroke, 54-hole lead. His shaky 71 featured three bogeys but was enough to deny Langham and Imada and moved Wetterich from 40th to 14th on the money list.

Short shots: After a year of unspectacular finishes, not even a childhood staple was safe. Before play began at the Utah Classic, Scott Petersen shelved his well-worn Ping Anser putter, a club he’s used in every tournament since he was 6 years old, for a fresh-from-the-factory Scotty Cameron. It was a drastic change but the early results were promising. Petersen tied for seventh, his first top 10 since June, thanks to three solid putting rounds. He took 29, 29 and 27 putts in his first three rounds, respectively, before shooting a closing 71 that included 32 putts. . . . Brett Wetterich had never played Willow Creek Country Club but the 7,104-yard layout proved to be a perfect fit for the long-hitting 31-year-old. Wetterich, who is second on tour with a 315.8-yard driving average, took advantage of Willow Creek’s five par 5s, playing the holes in 13 under.

– Staff and wire reports

Approachshots

Next up: Oregon Classic, Sept. 16-19, Shadow Hills Country Club, Junction City, Ore.

2003 champion: Chris Couch.

The buzz: Last year’s one-hole playoff was the first time in five events that overtime was needed to crown an Oregon Classic champion.

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