2005: After 12 years, Kraft again the big cheese
It has been a long time between victories for Greg Kraft. Twelve years, 2 months and 15 days, to be exact. Kraft last won at the PGA Tour’s Deposit Guaranty Classic, now the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, in April 1993.
Kraft, 41, erased that dry spell with a two-shot victory over Tim O’Neal at the Nationwide Tour’s Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. Kraft (70) finished at 17-under 267. O’Neal had a career-best Nationwide Tour finish after a final-round 65.
“This is wonderful,” said Kraft, who collected $54,000 for his title in 1993 and $81,000 for this victory. “I guess in ’93 I expected to win, and it didn’t feel as good as this one.”
Kraft led wire-to-wire and held a tour-record seven-stroke lead after 54 holes. The previous record of six shots was held by four players.
Kraft opened with birdies at Nos. 1 and 5, but just ahead, O’Neal was running off five birdies in the first six holes. He got as close as two with a birdie and a Kraft bogey at No. 9.
“You can’t help but think when you have a seven-stroke lead and you’re down to two at the turn that, ‘Oh my God, I could blow the biggest lead ever,’ ” Kraft said. “It is a thought. But I also knew I wasn’t shooting 5 over. Just keep the ball in play. Be smart. Make them come after you.”
Short shots: Doug Garwood (T-7) had his best finish since a tie for fourth at the 2002 Gila River Classic. . . . Brendan de Jonge used a 4-iron to ace the 235-yard 15th hole. . . . Brent Schwarzrock shot a 7-under 29 on the front nine Friday. He followed with a 1-over 37 on the back that included an eagle, birdie, two bogeys and a double bogey. . . . Ricky Barnes has received a sponsor exemption into the Canadian PGA Championship next month.
– Staff and wire reports