Talor Gooch secures PGA Tour card thanks to first Web.com Tour victory

David Cannon/Getty Images

Talor Gooch secures PGA Tour card thanks to first Web.com Tour victory

Professional

Talor Gooch secures PGA Tour card thanks to first Web.com Tour victory

Turning up the heat seems to make Talor Gooch better.

For the second week in a row, the 25-year-old former Oklahoma State golfer put on an amazing run on the final day.

Last week, in the Web.com Tour event in Missouri, Gooch shot a 64 in the final round to finish second. On Sunday, with the title in The News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot on the line, Gooch fired a 6-under-par 65 at Fox Den Country Club to finish at 18-under for the tournament. He beat Jefferson County High grad Jonathan Hodge by a stroke and proved again he’s a “money” guy.

The victory earned Gooch $99,000 and sewed up his PGA Tour card for next season. Hodge, who carded a 66 Sunday and finished 17 under (267), earned $59,400.

Ken Looper, the tournament leader for three rounds, hit a ball out of bounds on Sunday’s first hole. He entered the final round 17 under, but the ensuing triple bogey threw the lead up for grabs. Looper finished with a 1-over 72, tied for third with Keith Mitchell two shots back.

“It’s my best finish ever (on the tour), but I’m still bummed,” Looper said. “If I don’t start the way I did, I’m there all day. I just cut (the tee shot on the first hole) too hard. That was it.”

Said Gooch: “I saw on the scoreboard on the fourth or fifth hole that (Looper) had dropped a couple. I patted my caddie … ‘It’s anyone’s ballgame now.’ ”

Conversely, Hodge said he made a concerted effort to avoid looking at the leaderboard.

Of course, when he was making birdies on four of the first five holes, there was a pretty good chance the field would be chasing him.

And it was. For a while.

The slender Hodge was 5 under on the front nine, then birdied the 10th. He was actually two strokes ahead before going 1 over on the final eight holes – about the time Gooch caught fire.

“I got off to such a hot start it’s so hard to play that well for 18 holes,” Hodge said. “I felt the same. I just didn’t hit it quite as close.”

Hodge’s critical hole on the back nine was the par-3 13th when he three-putted from 30 feet.

“I really got fooled by the break,” he said, explaining why he left his first putt about 4 feet from the hole. “I didn’t hit it well anyway. That was a tough one.”

Missing that 4-footer forced him to lose a critical stroke that Gooch parlayed into a victory.

Gooch birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine to take control.

“I caught fire a couple weeks in a row,” said Gooch, who got his first win as a pro. “Pressure is when you’re in the final round of (qualifying) school trying to get your Web.com card. Pressure is when you’re trying to get in the top 75 (of the money list).

“Those are the types of pressure that helped me be comfortable on the back nine (Sunday).”

(This story was written by Al Lesar of the Knoxville News Sentinel.)

Latest

More Golfweek
Home