Chopra wins shortened Fresh Express Classic
Sunday, April 17, 2011
HAYWARD, Calif. – Daniel Chopra won the Nationwide Tour’s Fresh Express Classic on Sunday when fog forced officials to cancel the final round at TPC Stonebrae.
The 37-year-old Swede, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, shot a career-best 9-under 61 on Saturday to reach 12 under and take a one-stroke lead over Luke List and Russell Knox.
“A win is a win and I feel just as happy as if we would have finished today,” Chopra said. “I’m kind of shock, really. All of a sudden the buzzer sounds and I have this (trophy).”
The start of play was delayed four hours Sunday until 1:30 p.m. The fog returned four hours later – the first groups were through 16 holes and the final groups played seven – and the round was canceled because of insufficient time to complete the round Sunday. The tour said it didn’t have the option to resume play Monday.
“We’re all disappointed that we didn’t have the opportunity to complete things today,” tour tournament director Orlando Pope said. “It was shaping up to be quite a finish. ... Unfortunately, our tour has a very limited provision for pushing play into Monday, but that option wasn’t available to us.”
Chopra stumbled with a bogey at No. 2 and eventually relinquished the lead to Knox, a Monday qualifier making only his fourth career start on the tour. Knox took the lead with as birdie at the par-3 sixth hole. Playing with Knox and List, Chopra birdied No. 7 to regain a share of the lead before play was stopped.
“I’m not going to sit on the plane tomorrow and feel any less happy or any less satisfied because I played well,” Chopra said. “It wasn’t handed back to me. I was still in it and tied for the lead at the buzzer.”
Knox, from Scotland, had a chance to tie for the lead Saturday, but missed a 4-foot birdie putt on his final hole. That turned out to be the difference between a chance at a playoff and a share of second place.
“I’m not sure how things would have turned out today,” Knox said. “I really had no idea. I just tried to play to see how well I could do. I was playing well and thinking that maybe I had a chance to win.”
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, Mathew Goggin, Doug LaBelle and Marco Dawson tied for fourth at 8 under.