Lindheim earns first Tour title at Utah Championship
July 24, 2016
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- Nicholas Lindheim is self-taught and didn't take up the game of golf until the age of 16. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
LEHI, Utah – Every time Nicholas Lindheim’s lead got shaky Sunday, the self-taught 31-year-old brought his best golf as an answer. When Lindheim’s lead dropped to just two shots at the 15th tee after a J.J. Spaun birdie, Lindheim striped a 4-iron that nearly went in before stopping just 2 feet from the hole on the way to a birdie. That was the type of mettle Lindheim, a two-time winner on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, showed throughout Sunday’s final round, securing his first career Web.com Tour at the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank with a final-round, 2-under 69 at the Golf Club at Thanksgiving Point.
Lindheim’s 15-under 269 edged Spaun by two shots and moves him into 14th on the Web.com Tour money list after starting the week in 83rd.
“It’s amazing. It’s beyond belief,” Lindheim said. “Yeah, I don’t even know. It’s awesome. I’m very happy, and my family will be even happier.”
Playing with the 54-hole lead for the first time, Lindheim quickly birdied Nos. 2 and 3 to build a three-shot edge. That lead quickly evaporated with bogeys at Nos. 4 and 6, while Ollie Schniederjans in the group ahead caught him with birdies at Nos. 6 and 8 to tie the lead at 13-under.
But Lindheim played his best golf of the day the next three holes, reviving his lead with birdies at Nos. 8, 10 and 11. As Lindheim was rolling in birdies, Schniederjans began to fall back with his first two bogeys of the day at Nos. 9 and 11. In just three holes, Lindheim went from a share of the lead to a five-shot advantage.
“Honestly, I just tried to focus on breathing; that was my most important thing out there today,” Lindheim said. “Regardless of what anyone else did, we’re playing against the golf course. You can’t control anything other than what you do, and I just kept that in the back of my mind. Lots of deep breaths, lots of thoughts of my family and knowing that this isn’t make-or-break. This is something I chose to do. With that in the back of my mind, it really took the pressure off.”
Nicholas Lindheim interview after winning Utah Championship
Spaun, the 2015 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit winner, struggled to get going at the start and was just 1-over for the day through 10 holes. But on the toughest side of Thanksgiving Point, Spaun played his last eight holes in 2-under-par to make Lindheim close with authority.
“Yeah, Nick came out hot out of the gates, birdieing two or three, and I had a couple of good looks and was just barely missing putts up until 11,” Spaun said. “It’d probably be a little bit different (of a) round if I had made those first couple of putts on the front nine. But it was just tough to get the putter warmed up early on today.”
With his second runner-up of the season and fifth top-10, Spaun moved up to No. 6 on the money list and locked up his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season.
“It’s still surreal,” Spaun said. “Like I knew I could do it, just taking each week as it came. But to finally to get there and to feel that I’m locked up and not having to worry about being on the bubble at Portland, it’s just a great feeling. It’s going to totally free me up the rest of the year. It’s just going to be about going out and having fun now.”
After starting the day seven shots back, Xander Schauffele, who finished in solo third, briefly got within two shots of the lead with a birdie-eagle-birdie start to the back nine. Schauffele failed to hit the green at 13, though, and his Sunday charge fizzled out when he couldn’t get it up and down. Nevertheless, the Web.com Tour rookie’s solo third is his best career finish on Tour and moves him up 46 spots on the money list to No. 43 with five events remaining before the conclusion of the Regular Season.
Schniederjans, who opened the day two shots back of the lead, could have overtaken Wesley Bryan’s 10-week lead at the top of the money list with his second win of the season, but he played his last 10 holes in 4-over-par after tying up the lead through eight. With his T6 finish, Schniederjans did pass Richy Werenski for second place on the money list with $277,271 in earnings on the season.
Nicholas Lindheim's maiden victory at the Utah Championship
* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy with a high of 98 degrees and winds NW at 8-16 mph.
* This week’s purse is $650,000, with $117,000 going to winner Nicholas Lindheim.
* Schauffele was within three shots of the lead in a share of second when he got to the 18th tee at 6-under for the day and 12-under for the tournament. But Schauffele sent his tee shot 50 yards right of the fairway into the hazard and had to go back to a distance he wasn’t even sure how far it was. That’s when he hit the type of shot that could define his season, striping a 4-iron to 10 feet and holing the putt for par to post 12-under for the tournament and save a solo third.
* Nicholas Lindheim has never finished outside the top-30 in Utah in three career starts, with T15, T29, and first the last three years.
* With Jhonattan Vegas’ win at the RBC Canadian Open, nine PGA TOUR winners this year played the Web.com Tour Finals last year. Fifteen PGA TOUR winners this year have played the Web.com Tour Finals within the last two years.
* In two career appearances at the Utah Championship, Trey Mullinax has never finished outside of the top-15. Mullinax finished T11 a year ago, which included a course record-tying 62 in the second round, and the Alabama product closed with a 67 on Sunday to finish T8 and move up to No. 7 on the Web.com Tour money list.
* There were three holes-in-one this week – Bhavik Patel (No. 7), Steven Alker (No. 15) and Jason Allred (No. 15). That was the most of any tournament this season. There have now been eight holes-in-one on Tour this year.
* A pair of college teammates - Sebastian Cappelen and Austin Cook from Arkansas – both finished in the top-5, with a fourth and fifth place finish, respectively.
* Brian Richey, the 36-hole leader this week, finished T21 after a 6-over 77 on Sunday. Richey, a Monday qualifier, earned entry into next week’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae with his top-25 finish.
* After opening the tournament with a 3-over 74, Cheng Tsung Pan, who will play for Chinese Taipei in the Olympics in three weeks, continued his recent surge with rounds of 66-70-67 to close at 7-under 277. Pan’s T10 finish marks his fourth consecutive top-20 finish.
* Bill Lunde posted his first top-10 of the season, catapulting into the top-10 with a 5-under 66 for a T6 finish. Lunde, who won the PGA TOUR’s 2010 Turning Stone Resort Championship, hit 17/18 greens in regulation Sunday and led the field for the week with 61/72 greens hit.
* Courtesy of a 5-under 66 to close, Web.com Tour rookie Keith Mitchell recorded his best career Web.com Tour start with a T10 finish – his first career top-10 in 12 career starts. The terrific Sunday round moved the former Georgia Bulldog up from No. 111 on the Web.com Tour money list entering this week up to No. 80, which gets him closer to the top-75 that gets a player into the Web.com Tour Finals and helps avoid the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Bogey Free Rounds:
R1: Byron Smith (66), Trey Mullinax (66), Stephan Jaeger (67), Adam Svensson (67)
R2: Kyle Jones (67), Doug Letson (67), Zack Sucher (68)
R3: J.J. Spaun (65), Ollie Schniederjans (67)
R4: Bill Lunde (66), Erik Barnes (67), Matt Davidson (67)
Front (36) Back (36) Total (72) R1 34.748 35.690 70.439 R2 34.888 36.553 71.441 R3 34.696 37.087 71.783 R4 34.841 36.536 71.377