Tidland notches second career Tour win in Wichita

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Smith/PGA TOUR
Chris Tidland poses with the trophy after winning the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, his second Tour victory.
August 09, 2009
Kin Lo, PGA TOUR Staff

WICHITA, Kan. -- On a day that seemed destined for a playoff, Chris Tidland sank a 20-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole to earn his second Nationwide Tour victory at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open. Tidland fired a 6-under-par 65 to finish at 16 under and win by a shot over Dave Schultz and Chad Collins.

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Early in the day, it was third-round leader Jhonattan Vegas (pronounced "Jonathan") and Collins fighting for the lead. Vegas started the day with a two-stroke advantage, but got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey on the first hole. He caught a flier lie out of the rough and launched his approach shot over the green and out of bounds.

"I couldn't really get things going today," he said. "Hitting it O.B. on the first hole was tough -- it's never a good feeling when something like that happens."

That dropped him into a tie with Collins at 14 under. He birdied the third to regain a one-stroke lead, but Collins came right back with a birdie on No. 7. After his tee shot found the water on No. 8 for the second consecutive day, Vegas made bogey and fell out of the lead for the first time since Thursday afternoon.

Vegas made the turn with a 3-over-par 38 and in a three-way tie for second, one shot behind Chad Collins at 14 under. Never able to quite get his footing, he ended the day with a 3-over 74 and finished tied for fourth.

For the remainder of the afternoon the tournament was up for grabs, with many anticipating the fifth playoff in the Wichita Open's 20-year history. Steven Taylor was in the clubhouse early at 13 under after signing for one of the low rounds of the day, a 7-under 64 that left him only one shot behind Schultz and Collins.

After birdieing No. 14 and making par on the next three, Tidland stepped up to the 18th tee in a three-way tie for the lead. After hitting a good drive on the 520-yard par-5, he followed it with his go-to club -- a hybrid from 250 yards out that landed just short of the green and skipped up to 20 feet below the hole.

It wasn't until that point that Tidland figured he should check the leaderboard.

"I asked my caddie after I hit my second shot there," he said. "I did the same thing in Boise last year when I won. I figured I'd better find out if I needed to make that putt or it didn't matter. I'm not a scoreboard watcher -- my game keeps me busy enough that I don't need any other distractions."

Knowing that an opportunity for his second career Nationwide Tour win was within reach, Tidland deferred to his caddie's assessment of the uphill right-to-lefter.

"My caddie read it perfectly. I saw about a cup right of the hole and he saw a ball out," he said. "I got over the ball the first time and wanted to play a cup, but stepped away from it and told myself to trust his read -- he'd read them great all week."

It turned out to be the right choice.

The eagle putt found the center of the hole and gave him a two-shot lead with only Collins and Schultz behind him with a chance to match his 16-under total. After Schultz made birdie to finish at 15 under, it was just Collins in the final pairing left to answer with an eagle of his own and force extra holes.

"It was kind of a let-down," Collins said about seeing the scoreboard reflect Tidland's finish. "But for him to make that 20-footer with the tournament on the line is impressive and he deserved to win."

Collins second into 18 found the rough behind a greenside bunker and his pitch bounced past the hole to seal the victory for Tidland.

Tidland's first Tour win came last year at the Albertson's Boise Open. Originally from Torrance, Calif., he was a two-time first-team All-American at Oklahoma State University. The 36-year-old is a Nationwide Tour veteran and was a member of the PGA TOUR in 2001 and 2007. The win today moves him into second on the money list and all but assures him a return trip to the PGA TOUR. "The 25" leading money-winners at the end of the season earn their cards for 2010.

The Nationwide Tour travels to Springfield, Mo. next week for the 20th anniversary of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper.

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Notebook

• Schultz and Collins were the only players to move into "The 25" at Wichita, to 24th and 25th respectively.

• The biggest money-list mover this week was Taylor, jumping 113 spots to from 227th to 114th.

Blake Adams notched his fourth consecutive top-10 finish and moves up a spot to fourth on the money list.

• The low rounds of the day were a pair of 64s shot by Taylor (tied for fourth) and Chris Baryla(tied for seventh).

Front Back Total
Round 1 35.32 34.81 70.13
Round 2 35.66 35.92 71.58
Round 3 35.57 35.07 70.63
Round 4 35.27 34.98 70.25
Cumulative 35.47 35.27 70.74

• Scoring averages:

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