2005: At long last, Toledo on top

Findley Lake, N.Y.

Esteban Toledo has been close to winning a professional event, but finishing the job has always eluded him. Until now.

Toledo shot a final-round 71 July 3, finished 14 under and beat Jeff Gove by two shots at the Lake Erie Charity Classic.

“I’ve dreamed about this and worked very hard over the years,” said Toledo, who won for the first time after 184 Nationwide Tour and 274 PGA Tour starts (458 total). “It finally paid off.”

The victory was worth $81,000, more than Toledo had made in any of his previous five seasons on the Nationwide Tour, and moved him from No. 110 to No. 22 on the money list.

“I knew these guys would be coming after me all day,” said Toledo. “I knew the course would be tough and scores might be high. I knew if I could play 1 or 2 under, I felt I would win.”

The pivotal hole was the par-5 14th. Gove, playing one group in front of Toledo, hit his second shot into the right rough, made bogey and fell one shot back. Toledo, a boxer in his younger days, delivered a knockout punch by holing a sand wedge from 86 yards for an eagle 3, completing a three-shot swing.

Short shots: Jon Mills shot a final-round 65 and earned his third top-10 finish in his last five starts. . . . Barry Cheesman (Round 1, 214-yards, No. 13, 4-iron), Jimmy Green (Round 2, 157-yards, No. 10, 9-iron) and Jerry Smith (Round 3, 166-yards, No. 4, 8-iron) had holes-in-one. . . . Jason Gore, making his first start since gaining attention at the U.S. Open, tied for 10th.

– Staff and wire reports

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