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Prugh uses two eagles to win NZ Open

ASSOCIATED PRESS

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand – American Alex Prugh won the New Zealand Open on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title, pulling away with his second eagle of the round and finishing three strokes ahead of countryman Martin Piller.

The 24-year-old former University of Washington player finished with an 8-under 64 for a 19-under 269 total on The Hills course. He earned $108,000 in the event also sanctioned by the Australasian tour.

“If anything, this builds a lot of confidence for me,” Prugh said. “The last time I felt nerves like that might have been at the Pacific Coast Amateur in 2005, but there were no leaderboards there and we were playing in front of 30 people, not the thousands we had out here. I definitely thought I’d be more nervous coming down the stretch.”

Prugh, who joined Corey Pavin (1984 and 1985) as the only Americans champions in the event first played in 1907, made a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th to take a four-stroke lead. He also eagled the par-4 eighth, holing a pitching wedge.

“That one really kick-started my round,” Prugh said about the unexpected eagle on No. 8. “I thought, now we can really go.”

He had four birdies in a back-nine 30, and played the final 10 holes in 8 under on the scenic course.

“Where I grew up in eastern Washington, near the Idaho border, it looked a lot like this place,” said Prugh, from Spokane. “There were some lakes and some ski resorts in the area. I’ve felt more at home here than anyplace we’ve been on tour so far.”

Prugh took the lead with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, then wrapped it up with the eagle on 17.

“I hit a great 3-wood in there. I knew there was plenty of green and grass to the right and the only place I couldn’t miss was left,” Prugh said. “That putt was uphill, breaking on a tier. I played it about 4 feet outside. When it got close, I saw it was dead center.”

Piller, the third-round leader, shot a 68. The 23-year-old former Texas A&M player was making his fourth career Nationwide Tour start.

“It’s a little disappointing that I didn’t get it done, but I gave it everything I had,” Piller said. “I didn’t leave anything in the bag. When you shoot 64 like that, you’re going to win some tournaments. My hat’s off to Alex.”

American Jim Herman had a 68 to finish third at 14 under. American Jeff Gove (70) and New Zealand’s Josh Geary (71) were 12 under along with Australians Craig Parry (69), Peter Senior (68), Andrew Bonhomme (66) and Stephen Dartnall (68).

Richard Johnson aced the par-4 15th, only the second hole-in-one on a par 4 in Nationwide Tour history. Steven Jeffress also made a hole-in-one on the hole during the 2007 New Zealand Open, an event sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours.

Johnson’s hole-in-one on the 347-yard hole vaulted him from 10 under to 13 under and just two shots off the lead at the time. He bogeyed the next two holes and finished with a 70 to tie for 10th at 11 under.

“I just aimed for the gap in the traps and smashed it as hard as I could,” Johnson said. “I figured if I hit it really good I’d have a chance to get it in that back corner. I never saw it. It’s too far but I heard the crowd go nuts.”

Johnson will receive a pallet of beer from tournament sponsor Heineken, or 125 dozen bottles, which multiplies out to 1,500 bottles.

“I wonder if it will last more than a couple of weeks,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know how much a pallet was. I just knew it was more than a case.”

Final scores with relation to par from the Michael HillNew Zealand Open, played March 12-15 at the par-72, 7,243-yard The HillsGolf Club in Queenstown, New Zealand (Note: a-amateur; earnings unavailable):

1. Alex Prugh 65-71-69-64–269
-19 2. Martin Piller 67-69-68-68–272
-16 3. Jim Herman 68-73-65-68–274
-14 4. Andrew Bonhomme 73-69-68-66–276
-12 4. Stephen Dartnall 67-69-72-68–276
-12 4. Peter Senior 68-73-67-68–276
-12 4. Craig Parry 72-70-65-69–276
-12 4. Jeff Gove 71-63-72-70–276
-12 4. Josh Geary 72-65-68-71–276
-12 10. Adam Bland 68-71-71-67–277
-11 10. Richard Johnson 70-72-65-70–277
-11 10. Jason Norris 69-65-71-72–277
-11 13. Joe Daley 75-68-68-67–278
-10 13. David McKenzie 68-72-70-68–278
-10 13. Chad Collins 68-73-69-68–278
-10 13. Michael Wright 73-67-69-69–278
-10 13. Steve Friesen 69-68-71-70–278
-10 13. Todd Demsey 65-73-70-70–278
-10 13. Steve Alker 68-67-72-71–278
-10 13. Matthew Every 71-68-68-71–278
-10 13. Henrik Bjornstad 70-67-68-73–278
-10 22. Michael Long 72-70-68-69–279
-9 22. Roger Tambellini 74-67-67-71–279
-9 22. Jonas Blixt 68-71-67-73–279
-9 25. Kevin Johnson 73-69-72-66–280
-8 25. David Smail 74-67-70-69–280
-8 25. Marcus Fraser 71-72-66-71–280
-8 25. Drew Laning 69-68-69-74–280
-8 29. Wade Ormsby 72-71-70-68–281
-7 29. Ryan Hammond 70-72-70-69–281
-7 29. Aaron Townsend 71-68-72-70–281
-7 29. Vance Veazey 68-71-71-71–281
-7 29. Jeff Brehaut 74-66-70-71–281
-7 29. Miguel Angel Carballo 68-72-70-71–281
-7 29. Kyle Reifers 70-70-69-72–281
-7 29. Won Joon Lee 70-72-67-72–281
-7 29. Alistair Presnell 73-68-67-73–281
-7 29. Grant Waite 70-69-66-76–281
-7 39. Ian Leggatt 74-64-73-71–282
-6 39. Terry Pilkadaris 71-72-67-72–282
-6 39. Michael Clark II 71-70-68-73–282
-6 39. Josh Teater 65-72-71-74–282
-6 39. Michael Putnam 71-66-71-74–282
-6 44. Nick Flanagan 70-70-72-71–283
-5 44. Kim Felton 70-71-70-72–283
-5 44. Seung-su Han 67-74-69-73–283
-5 44. Bob Sowards 69-69-71-74–283
-5 48. Justin Bolli 70-72-74-68–284
-4 48. Andrew Buckle 69-74-71-70–284
-4 48. Brennan Webb 70-73-70-71–284
-4 51. Justin Hicks 68-75-73-69–285
-3 51. Brad Elder 69-73-70-73–285
-3 51. Brian Stuard 72-71-69-73–285
-3 51. Bubba Dickerson 70-70-71-74–285
-3 55. Steve Wheatcroft 72-70-73-71–286
-2 55. Jim McGovern 68-74-68-76–286
-2 57. Dustin White 71-72-71-73–287
-1 58. Jim Rutledge 70-71-77-71–289 + 1 59. Chris Gaunt 71-71-72-76–290 + 2 60. Bryan DeCorso 72-70-67-82–291 + 3 61. Tony Carolan 70-72-74-76–292 + 4 62. Tee McCabe 72-71-75-77–295 + 7 63. Steven Bowditch 73-68-81-77–299 + 11 • • •

Missed the cut

65. Andre Stolz 71-73–144
E 65. D.J. Brigman 73-71–144
E 65. Bradley Hughes 72-72–144
E 65. Richie Gallichan 72-72–144
E 65. Jeff Gallagher 72-72–144
E 65. Tim Wood 75-69–144
E 65. David Branshaw 69-75–144
E 65. Ryan Haller 68-76–144
E 65. Ryan Armour 75-69–144
E 65. Michael Brennan 75-69–144
E 65. Garrett Osborn 71-73–144
E 65. Bronson La'Cassie 73-71–144
E 77. Daniel Summerhays 75-70–145 + 1 77. Douglas LaBelle 72-73–145 + 1 77. Grant Moorhead 75-70–145 + 1 77. Bob May 73-72–145 + 1 77. Chris Nallen 75-70–145 + 1 77. Ron Whittaker 72-73–145 + 1 77. Cameron Percy 71-74–145 + 1 77. Rich Barcelo 74-71–145 + 1 77. Michael McGrath 79-66–145 + 1 77. Gareth Paddison 74-71–145 + 1 77. Paul Sheehan 72-73–145 + 1 88. Peter Fowler 76-70–146 + 2 88. Scott Dunlap 74-72–146 + 2 88. Fran Quinn 74-72–146 + 2 88. Andrew Tschudin 79-67–146 + 2 88. Matthew Griffin 75-71–146 + 2 88. Paul Claxton 72-74–146 + 2 88. Wayne Perske 72-74–146 + 2 88. Major Manning 76-70–146 + 2 88. Steven Jones 76-70–146 + 2 88. Leigh McKechnie 73-73–146 + 2 98. Peter O'Malley 72-75–147 + 3 98. Matthew Millar 68-79–147 + 3 98. Ashley Hall 73-74–147 + 3 98. a-Thomas Spearman-Burn 70-77–147 + 3 98. Stuart Bouvier 69-78–147 + 3 98. Mark Purser 74-73–147 + 3 98. Scott Hend 74-73–147 + 3 98. Paul Marantz 73-74–147 + 3 106. Skip Kendall 73-75–148 + 4 106. Brenden Pappas 73-75–148 + 4 106. Kyle Thompson 78-70–148 + 4 106. Peter Nolan 76-72–148 + 4 106. John Kimbell 75-73–148 + 4 106. a-Danny Lee 71-77–148 + 4 106. Brad Kennedy 78-70–148 + 4 106. Trevor Dodds 75-73–148 + 4 106. a-Sam Ma 76-72–148 + 4 115. Chad Ginn 73-76–149 + 5 115. J.J. Killeen 76-73–149 + 5 115. Andrew Johnson 73-76–149 + 5 115. Keith Nolan 72-77–149 + 5 119. Hunter Haas 76-74–150 + 6 119. Dustin Risdon 78-72–150 + 6 119. Len Mattiace 77-73–150 + 6 119. Bradley Iles 75-75–150 + 6 119. Geoffrey Sisk 79-71–150 + 6 119. Jon Mills 72-78–150 + 6 119. Jin Park 76-74–150 + 6 119. Michael Hendry 76-74–150 + 6 119. Craig Bowden 74-76–150 + 6 119. Anthony Summers 74-76–150 + 6 129. Phil Tataurangi 74-77–151 + 7 129. Michael Sim 74-77–151 + 7 129. Craig Scott 77-74–151 + 7 129. Scott Laycock 79-72–151 + 7 129. Brad Lamb 74-77–151 + 7 129. a-Ryan Fox 77-74–151 + 7 129. Craig Spence 75-76–151 + 7 129. Tristan Lambert 74-77–151 + 7 137. Tripp Isenhour 80-72–152 + 8 137. Kurt Barnes 78-74–152 + 8 137. Joseph Sykora 74-78–152 + 8 137. Ryan Hietala 80-72–152 + 8 137. Bob Charles 73-79–152 + 8 137. Jared Pender 75-77–152 + 8 143. Mahal Pearce 78-75–153 + 9 143. Steven Conran 76-77–153 + 9 145. Brenden Stuart 82-72–154 + 10 145. Adam Crawford 82-72–154 + 10 147. Troy Ropiha 81-74–155 + 11 147. Jason Enloe 78-77–155 + 11 149. Heath Reed 79-77–156 + 12 150. Paul Gow 77-80–157 + 13 150. Anthony Brown 77-80–157 + 13 150. Michael Moore 83-74–157 + 13 153. Brad Shilton 84-76–160 + 16 WD. John Riegger 73-WD

WD. Terry Price 82-WD

WD. Peter Wilson 78-WD

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