JUNCTION CITY, Ore.
Organizers of the Oregon Classic couldn’t have planned it better.
In front of family and friends Sept. 19 at Shadow Hills Country Club, Eugene, Ore., native Jeff Quinney shot a course-record 63 to erase a five-stroke deficit and win his first Nationwide Tour title.
“People always talk about getting in the zone, and I found it today,” said Quinney, who hit 14 of 18 greens and 13 of 14 fairways in regulation. “Somehow it all fell together today. It is the round of my life I guess you would call it, but I don’t feel like I did anything out of the ordinary.”
Quinney, 25, finished at 13-under 275, three shots better than Barry Cheesman (68) and David McKenzie (69). Quinney, who won the 2000 U.S. Amateur, had five birdies and two eagles in his round of 63.
“Obviously having your first win come in your hometown in front of family and friends makes it really special,” said Quinney, a former All-American at Arizona State University. “It can’t get any better than this.”
With the victory, Quinney collects a career-best $81,000 and jumps from No. 88 to No. 31 on the money list with $122,568. The win also places him within shouting distance of the top-20 money leaders who will receive 2005 PGA Tour cards at the conclusion of the season.
“I’ll have to look at what doors this opens up for me,” said Quinney, whose previous best finish on tour was a tie for fourth at the 2003 Albertsons Boise Open and earlier this year at the Lake Erie Charity Classic. “I honestly wasn’t thinking about winning today. I was thinking about making a good check and getting my status for next year. Now I can make a run for the top 20.”
The victory is the biggest achievement in Quinney’s career since he sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 39th hole in the 2000 U.S. Amateur to defeat James Driscoll. Driscoll won the Nationwide Tour’s previous event, the Virginia Beach Open on Sept. 12.
“It is a coincidence that he wins the previous week, and then I jump up there and catch him this week,” said Quinney, who moved up eight spots in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index to No. 471.