Spike McRoy and Shaun Micheel each was in search of his first PGA Tour victory, but their performances were as contrasting as their goals were similar.
McRoy, 34, made up seven strokes on Micheel July 21 at the B.C. Open, capping off a final-round 65 with a twisting 31-foot putt on No. 18. He finished at 19-under 269, one stroke ahead of Fred Funk and two strokes ahead of Micheel and four others.
It was an unlikely finish for Micheel, who shot no higher than 67 in the first three rounds. But he finished with two consecutive bogeys, a final-round 74 and a lost chance at victory.
“It’s just a funny game like that, you know?” McRoy said. “It’s so hard to put four solid rounds together, whether you’re at Bethpage, the hardest golf course I’ve every played, or a very scorable course like this (En-Joie Golf Club).”
Micheel had a chance to tie McRoy with a birdie on No. 18, but he hit his tee shot into the right rough, lined his second shot into rough left of the green and could not get close with his chip for birdie.
McRoy, who played at the University of Alabama, had plenty to talk about after the biggest victory of his career. He won twice each on the Buy.com Tour and the NGA/Hooters Tour, and his previous best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for third in the 2001 Kemper Insurance Open.
His father, Robert McRoy Sr., has a pole in his back yard in Alabama with a bell on top. After every tournament victory in Spike’s career, another engraved plaque is nailed on the pole and, with family and friends present, the bell is rung to celebrate the achievement.
“It’s going to be really cool to see that one go up there,” McRoy said. “I know he’ll be very proud.”
McRoy had struggled this season, making only four cuts in 12 events. He finished better than 50th only once (Tucson Open) in the events he had finished. This, after finishing No. 127 on the 2001 PGA Tour earnings list, losing a chance at his 2002 card by $4,598 after missing the final cut of the year at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
He earned $378,000 Sunday, plus a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
“If you win, you take care of a lot of problems, that’s for sure,” he said.
Others tied with Micheel for third at 17 under were Brian Henninger, Robert Gamez, Glen Day and Cliff Kresge, who shot a near-record 10-under 62 Sunday.
Kresge, the Buy.com Tour’s leading money winner, had an eagle, eight birdies and no bogeys. He was one shot off the tournament record of 61 shared by Hal Sutton (1995) and Funk (1999).
Funk continued to rack up impressive finishes in Endicott. One of his five PGA Tour victories came in the 1996 B.C. Open, and he finished second in 1999. In 11 B.C. Open appearances, Funk has won $631,068.
– From staff and wire reports