2003: Right decision leads Stolz to bank

Glenview, Ill.

Andre Stolz faced a tough decision a few days before the LaSalle Bank Open at The Glen Club.

On June 3, Stolz was attempting to qualify for this week’s U.S. Open at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. When rain pushed the 36-hole sectional qualifer into Wednesday, and with an early Thursday tee time in Illinois, Stolz had to make a choice – finish qualifying or withdraw and head to the Nationwide Tour event.

Stolz chose the latter and it paid off June 8 with his first Nationwide Tour victory. Stolz shot 17-under-par 271 to edge Tommy Tolles by two strokes.

In Maryland, Stolz had shot 72 in the first round of the Open qualifier and was 2 under with 10 holes left when rain suspended play. (Five under par earned a spot.)

“Even though it would have been nice to play in the U.S. Open, I made the right decision to play here,”

Stolz said. “I needed to improve my position on the money list.”

The $90,000 payday moved the Australian from No. 11 to No. 2 ($171,668) on the money list, $8,027 less than leader Joe Ogilvie.

Stolz, who won earlier this year on the Australasian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour, and was second to Ernie Els at the European Tour’s Johnnie Walker Classic, birdied five of the last six holes Sunday en route to a back-nine 31 and 4-under 68. Stolz’s finish overcame four bogeys in a six-hole stretch (Nos. 6-11).

Tolles, who entered the final round as a co-leader with D.A. Points, was looking for his first Nationwide Tour victory since 1994.

“It’s a little disappointing finishing second, but it was still a good week,” said Tolles, who shot even-par 72 Sunday. “All of a sudden when you come out of nowhere and finish second, it’s a big surprise.”

– Staff and wire reports

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