2004: Bates survives 8-hole playoff
It wasn’t planned, but Ben Bates and Paul Gow played 26 holes July 4 at the Reese’s Cup Classic.
As it turned out, Bates defeated Gow on the eighth playoff hole to capture the Nationwide Tour event.
Both finished at 6-under 278 after 72 holes. Bates, who earned his first victory since the 1997 Wichita Open, collected $81,000. In the end, Bates, who made a 22-foot birdie to get into the playoff, made par on the 220-yard, par-3 16th. On the hole, Gow chipped across the green from 55 feet away and then missed a par-chip coming back up the hill, leaving Bates to tap in for the victory.
This was Gow’s third playoff loss of 2004 – he lost a five-hole playoff to Ryuji Imada at the BMW Charity Pro-Am May 2 and was eliminated after the first hole at the SAS Carolina Classic May 30.
Jones to Japan: With a 2005 PGA Tour card secured thanks to a torrid six-event, five top-5 start to his Nationwide Tour career, Brendan Jones likely will finish his season on the Japan Golf Tour.
Jones’ agent, Michael Graham of Links Sports, said the Aussie has eight Japan Tour events remaining on his schedule as well as the British Open and PGA Championship, if he maintains his World Ranking (66th). That leaves little room for a return to the Nationwide Tour.
Even if Jones – who probably will skip the Nationwide finale in October which is played the same week as Japan’s ABC Championship, an event he won in 2002 – did not play another Nationwide event his $290,558 in earnings would probably rank him among the top 10 on the season-ending money list.
“We’re both pretty comfortable with a top 10,” Graham said. “(Playing the Nationwide Tour) was more of a look to see what he thought of the place and he had success quickly. By the third week he was comfortable.”
– Staff and wire reports
Next up: Pete Dye West Virginia Classic, July 15-18, Pete Dye Golf Club, Bridgeport, W. Va. Inaugural event.
The buzz: First-year tournament offers one of the tour’s largest purses ($600,000 and $108,000 to the winner).