5 Things: Gainey wins first PGA Tour title
Tommy Gainey didn’t get his 59, but he earned his first PGA Tour victory Sunday at the McGladrey Classic. The South Carolinian shot a final-round 60 to finish at 16-under 264, one shot ahead of David Toms.
Here’s 5 Things you need to know from scenic Sea Island:
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1. TWO GLOVES, ONE WIN: Tommy Gainey has earned attention throughout his career for his blue-collar background, unique golf swing and black gloves on each hand. Now Gainey is more than a sideshow. He’s a PGA Tour winner.
He earned his win with a near-record round at Sea Island Resort. Only David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic) and Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic) won with a final-round 59. Gainey was one stroke higher than the record, but it was enough for his first win in his 105th career PGA Tour start.
“I found a hot putter is what I found,” Gainey said. “You know, I really putted pretty well all week, but today I just ‑‑ I mean everything clicked, man.”
He made the turn Sunday in 4-under 31, then birdied the 11th hole. He played Nos. 13-16 in 5 under, including an eagle on the par-5 15th, to put golf’s magic number within reach. He needed to play the final two holes in 1 under to break 60. Instead, he two-putted from 45 feet on the par-3 17th and missed a 19-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
Five of Gainey’s eight Sunday birdies came on putts of 15 feet or shorter. He also holed a 41-footer for birdie on No. 3 and two 20-footers. He holed out from a greenside bunker to eagle the par-5 15th.
“I've shot 59 before, but I tell you what, this 60 in tournament play and tournament conditions on a golf course that's pretty hard,” Gainey said, “I'm ... loving it.”
Gainey started the final round seven shots off the lead. It was the second-largest comeback of 2012; Kyle Stanley started the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open eight shots back.
This was Gainey’s 31st start of the season, making 17 cuts and finishing in the top-10 on just one other occasion (3rd, Crowne Plaza Invitational). He’d been plagued by wrist and elbow injuries earlier this season.
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2. NO LOVE: Tournament host Davis Love III had a chance to earn his first PGA Tour victory since 2008. Love, the 54-hole co-leader with Jim Furyk, was just two shots off the lead when he stepped to the 16th tee. His hopes ended there, though. Love pulled his tee shot into water left of the fairway. He had to drop just 15 yards in front of the tee and made double-bogey. Love's final-round 71 left him in fourth place, four strokes behind Gainey. It was Love’s third top-10 of the season.
Ironically, Gainey was the runner-up in Love's last victory, at the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
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3. CLOSE CALLS: Love wasn’t the only one to make Gainey nervous as he sat in the clubhouse. Gainey, who teed off 2 hours, 25 minutes, before the final group, could only watch as major champions made their moves.
David Toms shot a final-round 63 to finish one shot back. He birdied No. 13 and Nos. 15-17, but parred the final hole after driving into a fairway bunker and missing the green in regulation. He got up-and-down to save par and finish second, his best finish of the season.
"I knew if I birdied my last two holes I could at least tie him, and I birdied 17,” Toms said. “I hit my worst drive of the week on 18. That's the way it goes. You gotta get ahead of yourself and you forget about trying to make one shot at a time. I was thinking about what kind of putt I was going to have before I ever hit the fairway, so you get ahead of yourself and that's what happens.”
Furyk, who played with Love in the final group, was two shots behind Gainey with six holes remaining. He birdied the par-5 15th to pull within one shot, but couldn’t catch the leader. He hooked his tee shot left of the green at the 192-yard, par-3 17th and chipped to 12 feet. He pumped his fist after making the putt, as it kept his hopes alive. Needing birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, Furyk pushed his 162-yard approach right of the green. He made bogey after his putt up a large swale stopped some 9 feet from the hole.
“I think what I'm most disappointed about is when it came down the stretch, hitting the ball pretty much as good as I can, I made really, really poor swings at 17 and 18 with a 7‑iron and 8‑iron, so to play those two holes and not get one good look at it for birdie was disappointing,” Furyk said.
He’s had more than his share of late-Sunday struggles this year. He failed to close out either the U.S. Open or WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and lost a crucial singles match at the Ryder Cup.
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4. MIND ON THE MONEY: It’s that time of year again, when the money list is forefront on PGA Tour players’ minds. Players are scrambling to finish in the top 125 with just one official event, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, remaining. That event will be held Nov. 8-11 at Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Fla.
D.J. Trahan had the best finish among players who started the week outside the top 125. He tied for fourth at 12-under 268 (66-67-66-69) to move from 151st to 130th.
Trahan has been in this position before. He arrived at last year’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at 123rd on the money list. He was projected at No. 125 on the money list with one round remaining there. A 22-foot birdie putt on his last hole enabled him to hold onto that position; he finished just $1,431 ahead of Bobby Gates, who three-putted his final hole.
Here’s how the PGA Tour money list looks after the McGladrey. Each player’s McGladrey finish is in parentheses:
• 122. Jeff Maggert, $671,494 (MC)
• 123. Kevin Chappell, $623,775 (T-43)
• 124. Rod Pampling, $620,893 (70th)
• 125. Billy Mayfair, $619,961 (MDF)
• 126. Trevor Immelman, $617,296 (DNP)*
• 127. Gary Christian, $616,457 (MDF)
• 128. Alexandre Rocha, $605,117 (T-61)
• 129. Bill Lunde, $593,598 (T-20)
• 130. D.J. Trahan, $587,407 (T-4)
* - already exempt for 2013
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Marco Dawson was the first-round co-leader after an 8-under 62, but didn’t break par in any of the final three rounds and finished 68th at even-par 280. Dawson needed a big finish this week. He made just $62,026 in his first 20 starts this season. Bud Cauley, who also shot a first-round 62, finished 20th after playing the final 54 holes in even par. ... Defending champion Ben Crane finished 27th. He started Sunday in sixth place after a third-round 62, but shot 72 in the final round. ... Michael Thompson, who finished third at last year’s McGladrey, finished 10th, his first top-10 since his second-place finish at the U.S. Open. ... Monday qualifier Chase Wright finished 64th at 1-under 279. Wright turned pro earlier this year after completing his career at Indiana.