October 23 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bill Lunde spent the last two days like a tourist, hanging out at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
But even with the theme parks beckoning, Lunde, who had missed the cut at the Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals Classic on Friday, couldn't leave the the game completely behind. He had to sneak a peak at Shot Tracker a couple of times a day.
That's because Cameron Tringale and Fabian Gomez both had a chance to tie Lunde and force a playoff for the Kodak Challenge title and its $1 million prize. Had either holed a shot from the 17th fairway for eagle, Lunde would have had more work to do.
Turns out, Lunde didn't need to worry. Just after 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, when Gomez's approach on the par 4 settled about 8 feet from the pin, the Californian was suddenly a millionaire.
The previous day, Lunde had been riding the monorail that snakes through the Disney property. He was looking down at his phone and realized he was right above the 17th green on the Magnolia Course -- just as Tringale was playing the hole.
"So I'm looking at my phone, we're at 17, I'm like, this is kind of meant to be," Lunde said.
The Kodak Challenge is a season-long competition that consists of a player's best scores on 18 of the 30 holes selected at various tournaments. Lunde made 17 birdies and one eagle to finish at 19 under. He said he was well aware of which hole was the Kodak Challenge one each week.
"More than anything, I think it was kind of cool to be able to make the birdies and makes eagles when I needed it the most," Lunde said. "With this whole deal on the line I knew how important those holes were. I'm also very relieved that it's over and I don't have a hole to worry about anymore. Be nice to play golf. I think I'm going to bogey the first three holes on 'em next year just so I don't have to ever think about it again."
Lunde was kidding, of course. That bonus will go a long way toward paying for that new house Lunde and his wife are contemplating. Sunday night there was going to be a nice dinner, and a party for family and friends is on tap for later when he gets home to Las Vegas.
"It'll be free for everybody except for Charley Hoffman who will be paying," Lunde chuckled, referring to his former UNLV teammate and good friend.
Lunde did say he had spoken to Bill Haas, who won the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus last month.
"He's like, ‘You know, you win this thing, it's something you got to go out and buy something you wouldn't buy,’" Lunde recalled. "You got to buy a car or something because it's like winning the lottery.
“I'm like, Maybe he's right. Maybe I should buy a car, but I don't really know what to get. I was thinking about Porsche, but I have a hard time justifying $150,000 for a car. It's not me."