2006: Sim a day late, but not $90,000 short
Michael Sim wasn’t about to rush himself when he had a chance to win the Nationwide Tour’s PalmettoPride Classic.
Tied for the lead through 16 holes Oct. 22, Sim and playing partner Kevin Stadler were the only two players not to finish the round. The pair would have to return Monday – along with clubhouse leader Ken Duke.
“It was too dark and I knew we weren’t going to be able to play 18, so why play 17?” said Sim, who was No. 1 in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings when he turned professional late last year. (Sim, who won two consecutive amateur events last year, was profiled in Golfweek, July 23, 2005.)
“The next two holes tomorrow are big for my career, but I don’t want to think like that. I just want to take each shot as it comes. If I make birdie-par it will be awesome.”
Sim made pars on Nos. 17 and 18 at The Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course. In the playoff, Sim made a 7-foot birdie putt to edge Duke, who missed a 10-foot birdie attempt. Both finished 72 holes at 12-under 276.
“I kept telling myself I was going to make it,” said Sim, the fifth Aussie to win on Tour this year. “As soon as I hit it, I looked up and it was heading straight for the middle of the cup. It was nice to see that ball go in.”
The $90,000 payday came on Sim’s 22nd birthday and moved him to No. 18 on the money list ($210,157) with two events remaining.
“Now I can miss Tour School hopefully and sneak into the top 20,” said Sim, who lost a playoff at the Jacob’s Creek Open Championship in February. “This takes a whole lot of pressure off for the final two events.”
On Monday, Sim made it interesting when his 60-foot birdie putt at No. 17 came up 10 feet short.
Duke, who won the tour’s other stop in South Carolina, the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs in April, earned $54,000 and moved to No. 1 on the money list ($359,651), passing Johnson Wagner, Craig Bowden and Jeff Quinney.
- Oooh nooo: Craig Bowden called a penalty on himself at the 10th hole in the second round. Bowden’s caddie inadvertently raked a greenside bunker on the 10th hole before Bowden had hit out of it.
Bowden and playing partner Steve LeBrun both wound up in the bunker and LeBrun hit first.
“He blasted his ball out and my ball was still in the bunker and my caddie raked where Steve hit and therefore, under the rule, that was testing the surface,” said Bowden. “When I saw him rake it I thought, ‘Oh gosh, what have you done?’ I knew it was a penalty.”
When Bowden failed to get up-and-down for par, his bogey 5 turned into a not-so-lucky 7. He finished T-25.
“It’s a lot easier for me to swallow (the penalty) because I knew I hadn’t physically done anything to affect my score,” Bowden said.
“I did hit in the bunker initially but I didn’t make the mistake, we made it as a team. We took it on the chin right there, but that’s the way golf is. It’s the rules.”
-Short shots: With one full-field event remaining, Doug LaBelle II, who dropped three places, is No. 20 on the money list with $202,674. Jason Caron is No. 62 on the money list at $91,142, less than $300 ahead of Gary Christian. Because Australians Michael Sim and Jarrod Lyle are temporary members, the top 62 (not the top 60) qualify for the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.
...Ricky Barnes extended his consecutive cuts made streak to 21. . . . CBS golf analyst Bobby Clampett played on a sponsor exemption. He missed the cut after rounds of 82-76. . . . Johnson Wagner (Round 1), Bob Heintz (Round 2) and Peter Tomasulo (Round 3) all had four consecutive birdies at Nos. 6-9. . . . This was the first regulation-play Monday finish in the 17-year history of the tour. Three times previously the tour has gone to a Monday finish, but those instances were to complete playoffs that were stopped by darkness.
– Staff and wire reports
On the tee
- Next up: Nationwide Tour Championship, Nov. 9-12, The Houstonian Golf & Country Club, Houston. 2005 champion: David Branshaw.
- The buzz: The season finale has
a new host site, where the tour’s top 62 money winners will battle for 20 cards on the 2007 PGA Tour.