PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rookie Chesson Hadley fired a 1-under 69 Sunday and won the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship by two strokes over four others. Hadley, a rookie out of Georgia Tech, posted a 10-under 270 total at the TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley course and collected his second win of the year.
Hadley trailed by one to start the rain-delayed final round but jumped in front with three birdies in his first five holes to open a three-stroke lead. Trouble emerged on the back nine and Hadley stumbled down the stretch for the second straight day but still had enough left to hold off the field and collect the winner’s trophy and a check for $180,000.
“This is incredible. I have no idea what happened,” said Hadley, who hit eight fairways and had 31 total putts. “It was blackout golf out there today and I was just trying not to puke on myself on the way in, even though I tried to.”
Hadley’s wild ride on the back nine -- two birdies and four bogeys -- was enough to keep things interesting as the field jockeyed to earn the final 25 available PGA TOUR cards for the 2013-14 season.
Hadley had finished No. 3 on the Regular Season money list and moved up from No. 14 to No. 3 on the Finals Priority Ranking with his win. The ranking determined a pecking order for the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season, which begins in two weeks with the Frys.com Open in California.
“This is something that we’ve been dreaming of since we were kids out there beating balls on the range with our parents,” said Hadley. “To see that come to fruition with a bunch of hard work and a bunch of people supporting us along the way, it’s pretty special.”
Brendon Todd’s 5-under 65 was the low round of the day and it gave the Stadion Classic at UGA winner a share of second place with Canada’s Brad Fritsch (66), LSU’s John Peterson (72) and third-round leader Scott Gardiner (72) of Australia.
Todd was already assured of a TOUR card by virtue of his 20th-place finish on the Regular Season money list but he moved up eight spots to No. 12 in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Fritsch missed the cut in his first three starts in the Finals but earned enough to regain his playing privileges.
Peterson capped off a furious late-season surge that saw him finish in the top-5 in all four of the Finals events. His payday of $66,000 pushed his money total to $230,000, about $567 more than Hadley and good for the No. 1 spot on the Finals money list.
The top spot gave Peterson full-exempt status in 2013-14 as well as a berth in THE PLAYERS Championship next May.
“I was aware at the beginning of the week,” said Peterson of the No. 1 ranking. “I thought I had to win or finish solo second barring a win by someone near me. I knew I needed a big week but I didn’t think it would turn out like this.”
Andrew Loupe, a college teammate and roommate of Peterson’s at LSU, fired a 1-under 69 and finished in a tie for sixth place. His payday of $34,750 was just enough to sneak him into the top 50 in the Priority Ranking
Fourth-Round Notes & Quotes:
• Sunday weather: Mostly cloudy and windy. Overnight low 72. Daytime high 82. Wind NE 10-20 mph.
• The start of the fourth round was delayed until 11:30 a.m. due to heavy overnight and early morning rain. Rainfall totaled 1.8 inches.
• Lift, clean and place rules were in effect for all four rounds.
• John Peterson shot a 3-under 67 to finish tied for second with three others at 8-under 272, his fourth straight top-5 finish in the Finals. Peterson’s check for $66,000 pushed his Finals money total to $230,000, giving him the No. 1 spot on the list by $566.67 over tournament winner Chesson Hadley.
• By finishing No. 1 on the Priority Ranking John Peterson earned Full Exempt status on the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season, which starts in two weeks at the Frys.com Open. He also earned an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship next spring.
• Chesson Hadley collected his second win in his rookie season on the Web.com Tour, adding the Tour Championship title to the one he won at the Rex Hospital Open in June.
• Hadley picked up a check for $180,000 this week.
• Hadley will be a rookie on the 2013-14 PGA TOUR. He has made two career starts but missed the cut in both the 2012 and the 2013 Wyndham Championship.
• Hadley’s second win came in his 22nd start of the year. Hadley made 16 cuts this year and in addition to his two wins he also finished second once (Mid-Atlantic Championship) and tied for third twice (BMW Charity Pro-Am, Midwest Classic).
• Hadley is now 2-for-2 when holding a second-round lead this year. He was ahead by two after 36 holes this week and held a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the Rex Hospital Open.
• Here’s how Hadley performed in the four Web.com Tour Finals events:
|Hadley in the Finals|
• Regular Season money leader Michael Putnam finished with a 4-over 74 and a 286 (+6) total and in a tie for 62nd place. Putnam earned fully exempt status on TOUR in 2013-14 by virtue of finishing first on the money list for the first 21 events on the schedule. A two-time winner this year (Mexico Open, Mid-Atlantic Championship), Putnam also earned a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship next May.
• Brad Fritsch fired a 4-under 66 Sunday to finish at 8-under 272 and T2. Fritsch chalked up nine birdies in the final round and will return to the PGA TOUR for the upcoming season.
• Fritsch had missed the cut in all three of the previous Finals events and came into the week tied for 116th in the Priority Ranking. His T2 effort was worth $66,000 and pushed him all the way up to No. 14 in the Priority Ranking.
• Fritsch made the cut in 18 of 24 PGA TOUR starts this year, which was his rookie season. He had one top-10 finish (T9 at Farmers Insurance Open) and ended the season No. 129 on the FedExCup points list.
• John Peterson made the cut in 16 of 18 starts on the Web.com Tour this year and had six top-10 finishes and 13 top-25 outings. In the three weeks that he made the cut but didn’t get into the top-25, he finished T28, T30 and T36.
• Peterson capped off a tremendous late-season run that ended with five straight top-5 weeks:
|Peterson's last five starts|
• Andrew Loupe fired a 1-under 69 to get to 7-under and into a tie for sixth place. Loupe had missed the cut in his previous three starts in the Finals but earned enough ($34,750) to jump all the way to 32nd in the Priority Ranking and earn a PGA TOUR card for the upcoming season.
• Loupe will be a rookie on the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season. He has made one career start on TOUR and missed the cut at the 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
• John Peterson and Andrew Loupe were not only college teammates at Louisiana State but also were roommates for three years in Baton Rouge.
• Texan Bobby Gates wound up being the "bubble boy" for the Finals. The former Texas A&M standout missed the cut after posting scores of 72-71 and returned to the Lone Star State to wait for the weekend to unfold. Gates was in and out of the final spot for a TOUR card several times over the weekend. He earned the last of the 25 cards available via the Finals with a money total of $33,650, edging out Andres Gonzales (T8) by $1,796.67.
• Those players who played their way into 2013-14 PGA TOUR cards: Brad Fritsch (T2), Russell Knox (T6), Billy Hurley III (T8), Joe Durant (T8), Lee Williams (T8) and Andrew Loupe (T6).
• There were six players displaced from the top-50 spots on the Priority Rankings this week. All six missed the cut: Greg Owen, Vaughn Taylor, Spencer Levine, Camilo Benedetti, Alistair Presnell and Steve Wheatcroft.
• Joe Durant made the cut in 13 of 17 Web.com Tour starts this year and had a pair of top-10 finishes. He tied for eighth at the rain-shortened Stadion Classic at UGA and was solo sixth at the News Sentinel Open. The 49-year old Durant ended the Regular Season No. 65 on the money list. Durant also made two cuts in seven PGA TOUR starts this year.
• Durant entered the week No. 67 on the Finals Priority Ranking, $11,100 behind the final spot on the top-50 money list. Durant had made the cut in the three previous Finals events – T55/Hotel Fitness Championship; T30/Chiquita Classic; T56/Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship – but did not have a top-25 finish. His T8 at Dye's Valley moved him up No. 29 on the Priority Ranking.
• Durant’s only win on this Tour came on May 12, 1996 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic. The victory capped off a three-week stretch where he finished fourth, second and then first. He added a T3 two weeks later and eventually wound up No. 3 on the money list to earn his PGA TOUR card.
• This was the first time the Web.com Tour Championship was played at the TPC Sawgrass – Dye’s Valley course but it was the fourth consecutive year a tournament was held on the site. The Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open was held on Dye’s Valley from 2010-12 and the winning scores in those years were:
2010 -- David Mathis, 272 (-8)
2011 -- Gavin Coles, 274 (-6)
2012 -- Russell Henley, 270 (-10)
2013 -- Chesson Hadley, 270 (-10)
• Course statistics for the week:
|Dye's Valley statistics|