Putnam opens up giant lead, nets second straight victory at Mid-Atlantic ChampionshipJune 02, 2013
By Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour
POTOMAC, Md. -- Michael Putnam staked himself to a big lead early in the final round of the Mid-Atlantic Championship and then coasted to victory for the second straight week on the Web.com Tour.
Putnam, who turned 30 on Saturday, shot a 2-under 68 at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm and finished with a 7-under 273 total, two shots better than rookie Chesson Hadley (67).
Bronson La’Cassie (67), Daniel Chopra (70) and Chad Collins (72) wound up at 3-under 277 and four off the pace.
Peter Tomasulo (65), Alex Prugh (68), Scott Dunlap (71) and Sung Kang (73) shared sixth place at 1 under.
Putnam, winner of last week’s Mexico Open, picked up a check for $108,000 and increased his hold on the top spot of the Tour’s money list. His season total of $354,234 puts him more than $132,000 in front of No. 2 Edward Loar.
“It’s the second week in a row and I can’t get used to it enough,” Putnam told the crowd at the trophy presentation.
The former Pepperdine All-American started the final round at 5 under and tied for the lead with playing partners Collins and Kang. Three birdie putts of 15, 10 and 12 feet on his first six holes separated Putnam from the pack.
“To pull away from the field early was big, especially with the windy conditions and knowing it was going to be a tough day,” Putnam said. “It was going to be tough to make any birdies today and to start off with three cemented the lead for a good while.”
Putnam got ahead of himself when he was up by four and staring at a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 8, which would have stretched his lead to five strokes.
“My mind started racing thinking about my family and what I was going to do with the win and a bunch of other stuff,” he said. “Then I missed it. I knew there were a bunch of tough holes ahead and I caught myself. I tried not to exhale the rest of the back nine.”
With his lead at four and the TPC course showing its teeth once again – the four-day scoring average for the par-70 layout was 72.631 – Putnam took his foot off the gas pedal.
“If you get aggressive on this golf course it’s real easy to make bogeys. There are penalties everywhere,” he said. “I was aiming towards the middle of the greens having 20 footers for birdie.”
Putnam didn’t make many but then neither did anyone else. The only one applying any pressure was Hadley, who closed to within two a couple of times but could get no closer.
“I’m glad it didn’t catch up to me and nobody made birdies to catch up to me,” Putnam said. “It’s hard to make three or four birdies in the last five or six holes. I knew if I made some pars I’d probably be the winner.”
Putnam will have to put both his birthday and victory celebration on hold until Tuesday. He will be joining 121 other competitors in Monday’s 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifying at Woodmont Country Club in nearby Rockville, Md.
-- Sunday weather: Mostly cloudy with very light afternoon rain showers. Wind S-SW 10-20 mph. High of 79.
-- Only nine players finished under par this week, the fewest on Tour since the 2012 Panama Claro Championship when Edward Loar’s winning score was 4 under and only six players were under par for the week.
With this victory, Putnam ...
-- Ppicks up a first-place check for $108,000
-- Increases his season total to $354,234
-- Maintains his place at No. 1 on the money list
-- Increases his lead on the money list to $132,876 over No. 2 Edward Loar, who missed the cut this week.
-- Joins a short list of players who have registered consecutive victories on Tour. Putnam is the eighth player in Tour history to do it in back-to-back weeks:
Most consecutive victories:
3 -- Jason Gore, 2005 National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic, Scholarship America Showdown, Cox Classic (consecutive starts)
2 -- Tommy Armour III, 1994 Miami Valley Open and Cleveland Open; Jerry Haas, 1994 Tri-Cities Open and Sonoma County Open; Chris Smith, 1997 Dakota Dunes Open and Omaha Classic; Carl Paulson,1999 Utah Classic and Boise Open (consecutive starts); Pat Bates, 2001 Shreveport Open and Tour Championship; Jason Gore, 2002 Oregon Classic and Albertsons Boise Open; Daniel Chopra, 2004 First Tee Arkansas Classic and Henrico County Open (consecutive starts); Charles Warren, 2004 Samsung Canadian PGA Championship and Cox Classic (consecutive starts); Nick Flanagan, 2007 Henrico County Open and BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs (consecutive starts); J.J. Killeen, 2011 Utah Championship and Cox Classic (consecutive starts); Ben Kohles, 2012 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational and Cox Classic; Luke Guthrie, 2012 Albertsons Boise Open and WNB Golf Classic; Putnam, 2013 Mexico Open and Mid-Atlantic Championship
-- Chesson Hadley, a 25-year old rookie from Georgia Tech, chalked up his third straight top-6 finish with his runner-up effort this week. Hadley admitted that he was doing his best to chase down eventual winner Michael Putnam but he also knew what another solid week might mean in the long run.
“I think he (Putnam) was four up when I was on the 14th tee and this course is just too tough to catch somebody without some help,” he said. “It’s difficult to get too aggressive because the ultimate goal on this Tour is to advance. If I try too hard and make a stupid mistake on 17 and make double, maybe I finish seventh instead of second. The money means something out here so it’s tough to balance that sometimes. You do everything you can to win, but you also don’t take silly chances that could cost you a lot of money.”
Hadley birdied the 17th hole to close the gap on Putnam to two, but that’s where he remained.
His consolation prize was a solo second-place check for $64,800, which vaulted him up from No. 25 on the money list to No. 8.
Front (35) Back (35) Total (70) Round 1 36.297
72.432 Round 2 36.676
73.223 Round 3 36.167 35.817 71.983 Round 4 36.300
36.033 72.333 Total 36.411 36.220 72.631
Best rounds of the day
65 – Peter Tomasulo
66 – Nick Rousey
67 – Chesson Hadley, Bronson La’Cassie, Brett Wetterich
-- California’s Peter Tomasulo made the biggest move of the day with his 5-under 65. Tomasulo, winner of the 2012 United Leasing Championship in Evansville, Ind., was 4 over and T36 to start the day. He finished at 1-under 209 and tied for sixth place.
-- Lefty Tim Wilkinson (72) tied for 10th this week, his seventh top-15 finish in eight starts this year. Wilkinson moved to No. 3 on the money list with his finish.
His only hiccup this year came at the South Georgia Classic where he signed for an incorrect scorecard after the first round and was disqualified.
-- The Web.com Tour will be idle next week. The Tour resumes play June 10-16 at the Air Capital Classic at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kansas.