Gay wins first Tour title at Mayakoba

By JAIME ARON
Associated Press

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Brian Gay’s 8-year-old daughter had it on good authority that her father would earn his first PGA Tour victory Sunday.

The 12-year-old son of defending champion Fred Funk told her so Saturday night.

Although Gay didn’t know about the prediction, he did a nice job making it hold up, shooting a 1-under 69 in the final round to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic by two shots over Steve Marino.

The PGA Tour’s second annual visit south of the border became Gay’s to lose when he closed the third round with birdies on five of the last six holes. He took a five-stroke lead into the final round and led by at least four throughout the first 16 holes Sunday. Marino moved a shot closer on each of the last two holes, but all it changed was the margin of victory.

In his 293rd career start, Gay finally was a winner; only 12 active players have entered more events without breaking through.

Then again, Fred’s son, Taylor, knew it was going to happen after Gay’s birdie flurry Saturday. At the hotel pool a few hours later, he told Makinley Gay, “Your dad’s going to win.”

Makinley told her mom, Kimberly, who then decided to keep that story between them to avoid adding to the pressure Daddy already felt. That may have been a good idea considering Gay didn’t exactly storm to victory on a hot, hardly windy day that seemed ideal for scoring low.

He was even through 10 holes, offsetting a pair of birdies with a pair of bogeys, but was still comfortably ahead because none of the other contenders made a move. He went back under par for the day with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13.

Marino, however, birdied Nos. 11, 13 and 14, getting within four strokes with four holes left.

Gay’s tee shot on 16 went in the bunker and his bunker shot was well short of the pin. If he was going to crack, this was going to be it. Instead, he saved par by sinking a putt from at least 30 feet. In a rare display of emotion, Gay even gave a little fist pump.

More emotion came after he tapped in for par on No. 18, when his 4-year-old daughter, Brantley, ran onto the green to be the first to congratulate him. He then celebrated with Kimberly and Makinley.

Gay finished at 16-under 264, one stroke better than Funk’s winning score last year.

Marino, who closed with a 66, finished two strokes back. John Merrick, the leader after each of the first two rounds, and Matt Kuchar tied for third at 268.

Crowd favorite Esteban Toledo of Mexico wasn’t able to match his Saturday surge, shooting a 72 to tie for 11th.

Short off the tee but terrific with a putter, Gay never struggled for victories until moving up to golf’s highest level. He’s the only two-time winner of the SEC Championship and he helped Florida win the national title in 1993. He won nine of 40 mini-tour starts in 1995, but has been a regular on the PGA Tour since 1999 without ever finishing higher than a tie for second.

One of those came at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, which he’s long considered his favorite tournament. Part of his affinity is for the members, who have practically adopted him because he was born in Fort Worth.

Colonial’s spot in his heart might be bumped aside by Mayakoba and the 6,923-yard El Camaleon course designed by Greg Norman. After all, Gay shot the lowest round of his career (62, Saturday) and collected his biggest paycheck ($630,000, nearly double his previous best).

The only downer might be that he didn’t stare down the PGA Tour’s best, as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and 62 others were at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Still, a win is a win. Gay even has a 100-pound limestone chameleon trophy to prove it.

Final scores with relation to par and earnings from the Mayakoba Golf Classic, played Feb. 21-24 at the par-70,6,923-yard El Camaleón Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (Note: FedEx Cup points in parenthesis):

  1. Brian Gay (2,250)
    $630,000
    66-67-62-69--264

    -16 2. Steve Marino (1,350)
    378,000
    67-69-64-66--266

    -14 3. John Merrick (725)
    203,000
    64-68-69-67--268

    -12 3. Matt Kuchar (725)
    203,000
    68-69-64-67--268

    -12 5. Cliff Kresge (500)
    140,000
    68-71-64-66--269

    -11 6. Patrick Sheehan (450)
    126,000
    71-67-67-65--270

    -10 7. Tim Petrovic (403)
    112,875
    67-71-67-66--271

    -9 7. Peter Lonard (403)
    112,875
    68-71-64-68--271

    -9 9. Nick Flanagan (350)
    98,000
    75-66-68-64--273

    -7 9. Roland Thatcher (350)
    98,000
    71-73-61-68--273

    -7 11. Esteban Toledo 0
    87,500
    70-69-63-72--274

    -6 12. Briny Baird (230)
    64,500
    68-73-68-66--275

    -5 12. Corey Pavin (230)
    64,500
    72-68-67-68--275

    -5 12. Paul Stankowski (230)
    64,500
    71-72-64-68--275

    -5 12. Bob May (230)
    64,500
    69-71-67-68--275

    -5 12. Joe Durant (230)
    64,500
    71-69-66-69--275

    -5 12. Chris Stroud (230)
    64,500
    68-71-66-70--275

    -5 12. Joe Ogilvie (230)
    64,500
    70-71-64-70--275

    -5 19. Kenneth Ferrie (163)
    45,500
    65-72-72-67--276

    -4 19. Alex Cejka (163)
    45,500
    70-73-68-65--276

    -4 19. Greg Kraft (163)
    45,500
    67-72-67-70--276

    -4 22. Matt Jones (116)
    32,492
    67-72-70-68--277

    -3 22. Chris Riley (116)
    32,492
    72-68-69-68--277

    -3 22. Larry Mize (116)
    32,492
    65-74-69-69--277

    -3 22. Michael Sim (116)
    32,492
    69-69-68-71--277

    -3 22. Robert Damron (116)
    32,492
    65-75-67-70--277

    -3 22. Tim Herron (116)
    32,492
    70-70-64-73--277

    -3 28. Alvaro Quiros 0
    22,291
    68-73-68-69--278

    -2 28. Steve Allan (80)
    22,291
    71-72-69-66--278

    -2 28. Joey Sindelar (80)
    22,291
    70-74-64-70--278

    -2 28. David Lutterus (80)
    22,291
    65-69-73-71--278

    -2 28. Neal Lancaster (80)
    22,291
    70-70-68-70--278

    -2 28. Tim Wilkinson (80)
    22,291
    67-76-70-65--278

    -2 28. Kevin Streelman (80)
    22,291
    69-70-67-72--278

    -2 28. Craig Kanada (80)
    22,291
    67-73-66-72--278

    -2 36. Dean Wilson (58)
    16,129
    67-75-67-70--279

    -1 36. Colt Knost 0
    16,129
    70-70-69-70--279

    -1 36. Brad Adamonis (58)
    16,129
    68-71-72-68--279

    -1 36. Jim McGovern (58)
    16,129
    72-72-68-67--279

    -1 36. Ron Whittaker (58)
    16,129
    68-73-67-71--279

    -1 36. Scott Sterling (58)
    16,129
    70-69-68-72--279

    -1 42. Parker McLachlin (43)
    11,900
    67-74-69-70--280

    E 42. Shigeki Maruyama (43)
    11,900
    69-68-71-72--280

    E 42. Marco Dawson (43)
    11,900
    72-71-69-68--280

    E 42. Cameron Beckman (43)
    11,900
    67-71-75-67--280

    E 42. Nick Price (43)
    11,900
    70-68-68-74--280

    E 42. Michael Letzig (43)
    11,900
    71-73-71-65--280

    E 48. Richard S. Johnson (31)
    8,797
    70-70-70-71--281
    + 1 48. Justin Bolli (31)
    8,797
    68-74-70-69--281
    + 1 48. Jay Williamson (31)
    8,797
    69-74-70-68--281
    + 1 48. Kevin Stadler (31)
    8,797
    67-73-74-67--281
    + 1 48. Doug LaBelle II (31)
    8,797
    70-71-73-67--281
    + 1 48. A. Canizares (31)
    8,797
    71-73-70-67--281
    + 1 54. Tommy Gainey (29)
    8,085
    66-74-73-69--282
    + 2 54. Glen Day (29)
    8,085
    70-73-70-69--282
    + 2 56. Mark Brooks (28)
    7,875
    71-71-70-71--283
    + 3 56. Jin Park (28)
    7,875
    69-75-68-71--283
    + 3 56. Gavin Coles (28)
    7,875
    70-73-70-70--283
    + 3 56. Len Mattiace (28)
    7,875
    70-74-70-69--283
    + 3 60. John Daly (27)
    7,630
    66-73-71-74--284
    + 4 60. Chez Reavie (27)
    7,630
    70-73-68-73--284
    + 4 60. Scott Piercy 0
    7,630
    72-71-71-70--284
    + 4 63. Fred Funk (27)
    7,420
    73-71-66-75--285
    + 5 63. Jesper Parnevik (27)
    7,420
    72-71-70-72--285
    + 5 63. Brad Elder (27)
    7,420
    69-71-75-70--285
    + 5 66. Jon Mills (26)
    7,210
    73-71-70-72--286
    + 6 66. John Morse (26)
    7,210
    71-72-72-71--286
    + 6 66. Harrison Frazar (26)
    7,210
    71-72-73-70--286
    + 6 69. Jose Coceres (25)
    7,035
    67-74-72-74--287
    + 7 69. Jimmy Walker (25)
    7,035
    72-69-73-73--287
    + 7 71. Jason Dufner (25)
    6,895
    70-73-69-77--289
    + 9 71. Marc Turnesa (25)
    6,895
    72-72-70-75--289
    + 9 73. Brett Rumford (24)
    6,790
    71-73-77-71--292
    + 12 74. Martin Laird (24)
    6,720
    68-73-74-80--295
    + 15 75. Bob Burns (24)
    6,650
    74-70-74-81--299
    + 19 • • •







    Missed the cut







    76. Tom Byrum



    69-76--145
    + 5 76. Carlos Franco



    72-73--145
    + 5 76. Omar Uresti



    71-74--145
    + 5 76. Garrett Willis



    72-73--145
    + 5 76. Nicholas Thompson



    69-76--145
    + 5 76. Andrew Magee



    69-76--145
    + 5 76. Bob Heintz



    71-74--145
    + 5 76. Phil Tataurangi



    72-73--145
    + 5 76. Paul Claxton



    71-74--145
    + 5 85. Skip Kendall



    74-72--146
    + 6 85. Jay Delsing



    73-73--146
    + 6 85. Olin Browne



    71-75--146
    + 6 85. John Huston



    71-75--146
    + 6 85. Tom Scherrer



    73-73--146
    + 6 85. Warren Pineo



    71-75--146
    + 6 85. Jonathan Kaye



    74-72--146
    + 6 85. Todd Demsey



    74-72--146
    + 6 85. Travis Perkins



    72-74--146
    + 6 85. Brian Kontak



    75-71--146
    + 6 95. Guy Boros



    75-72--147
    + 7 95. John Riegger



    72-75--147
    + 7 95. Daisuke Maruyama



    71-76--147
    + 7 95. Kyle Thompson



    71-76--147
    + 7 95. Y.E. Yang



    73-74--147
    + 7 95. Chad Collins



    74-73--147
    + 7 95. Brenden Pappas



    73-74--147
    + 7 95. Jeff Gove



    76-71--147
    + 7 95. Chip Sullivan



    75-72--147
    + 7 104. Robert Gamez



    73-75--148
    + 8 104. Andrew Buckle



    78-70--148
    + 8 104. J.T. Kohut



    76-72--148
    + 8 104. Dan Forsman



    74-74--148
    + 8 104. Lee Janzen



    73-75--148
    + 8 104. Mike Heinen



    76-72--148
    + 8 110. Greg Norman



    70-79--149
    + 9 110. Ryan Palmer



    70-79--149
    + 9 110. Bob Tway



    75-74--149
    + 9 110. Cody Freeman



    72-77--149
    + 9 110. Bob Sowards



    72-77--149
    + 9 110. Robert Floyd



    77-72--149
    + 9 116. Brent Geiberger



    70-80--150
    + 10 116. Ted Purdy



    77-73--150
    + 10 116. Jose de Jesus Rodriguez


    74-76--150
    + 10 116. Kris Cox



    72-78--150
    + 10 116. Pablo Martin



    73-77--150
    + 10 116. Santiago Luna



    76-74--150
    + 10 116. Shaun Micheel



    75-75--150
    + 10 116. Chris Smith



    75-75--150
    + 10 124. Dicky Pride



    73-78--151
    + 11 124. David Oh



    77-74--151
    + 11 126. Dave Rummells



    73-79--152
    + 12 126. Kent Jones



    78-74--152
    + 12 128. Bubba Watson



    79-75--154
    + 14 129. Jim Gallagher, Jr.



    75-80--155
    + 15 130. Jason Allred



    74-82--156
    + 16 131. James Driscoll



    82-83--165
    + 25 DQ. G. Fernandez



    72-DQ
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