Rookie flies high in Wichita to win first trophyAugust 10, 2008
Mark Williams, PGA TOUR Staff
WICHITA, Kan. -- In the city dubbed the "Air Capitol of the World", home to six major aircraft manufacturing companies, Scott Piercy was flying high as the newest first-time winner on the Nationwide Tour.
Piercy (71) scored 22-under-par 262, a new tournament record, to win the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open by two strokes over three players tied for second at 20-under, Daniel Summerhays (67), Hunter Haas (70) and Spencer Levin (67).
Brendon de Jonge (68) was alone in fifth at 18-under while Chris Anderson (70) finished sixth at 17-under.
Four players tied for seventh at 16-under.
After a shaky start making bogeys at the 1st and 7th holes, Piercy, a San Diego State University graduate, made his first birdie of the day at the par-5 14th hole. Another birdie at the par-3 17th hole, when he knocked in a 20-foot putt on top of Levin, who had just holed a 45-footer of his own for birdie, basically sealed the deal for the 29-year-old Piercy.
"Spencer made that putt -- a bomb -- it was a huge putt for him," said Piercy. "For me to make it on top of him -- it takes all the wind from his sails. To make that at that time you can't ask for anything more."
Summerhays, in the next to last group, failed to birdie the last to apply any pressure, while Haas' birdie, birdie finish came a little too late. Levin needed to get up-and-down from the front of the final green to finish second alone but missed a five-footer.
"I had no chance after Scott made that putt on 17," said Levin, who earned his best finish on Tour. "I'm a little bummed that last putt cost me some money but I still moved up from where I started today. I would have taken this at the beginning of the week."
Summerhays, Levin and Piercy advanced to 33rd, 34th and 35th respectively on the money list, while Haas moved to 40th. Piercy jumped 88 spots with the win. All four players now have The 25 on their radar and a chance to head to the PGA TOUR.
Summerhays played the front nine 1-under for the week and the back nine 19-under.
"Maybe I don't know how to play the front side properly," joked the Farmington, Utah, native, who was filming "Quest for the Card" this week with the GOLF CHANNEL. "Any exposure is good exposure and I hope people get to know me and my family."
Jarrod Lyle maintains his No. 1 position on the money list for the seventh consecutive week, and his 15th week this season. His $293,366 is a little more than $25,000 ahead of fellow Australian Greg Chalmers in second position.
Asked to compare today's victory with his win at the Ultimate Game in Las Vegas last year, where he pocketed $2 million dollars, Piercy said "It could be worth more than that. Getting my TOUR card is worth a lot more than $2 million. Hopefully, I'm on my way."
Time will tell.
Final Round News & Notes: Six players returned at 8:30 a.m. to complete the third round. All birdied the 54th hole, including Piercy, whose 22-under 191 smashed Ben Crane's (2000) 54-hole tournament record by five strokes...Preferred lies were in effect for the final round...The final-round scoring average was 69.721 while the scoring average for the week was 69.623, the second-lowest average in tournament history...Dave Schultz (71) played in the Wednesday pro-am with Wichita State basketball coach, Gregg Marshall. The coach invited Schultz to stay at his house for the week. When Schultz's caddie failed to show up for the final round, Marshall, who had planned to be a spectator, jumped the ropes, put on the bib, and filled in for the day...Scott Gordon holed out from 125 yards for eagle at the 418 yard 9th hole, the second eagle of the week at No. 9 (Brad Iles, first round)...Jeremy Anderson (72) made eagle at the 4th hole, a 397 yard par-4...Last week's winner, Ryan Hietala (69), started the final round double-bogey, bogey and finished tied for 25th ...Fabian Gomez (67), who finished second last year, shot his 7th consecutive round in the 60s at the Wichita Open. Gomez also shared the low round of the day with Bubba Dickerson, Daniel Summerhays, Spencer Levin and Brian Smock...First round leader, Tommy Tolles (70), tied for 25th ...Ben Bates (71-T21), Jeff Klauk (68-T30), and Joe Daley (69-T37) are three past Wichita Open champions...Next week the Nationwide Tour heads to Irondequoit Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., for the Xerox Classic. Last year, Nick Flanagan became the first international player in Tour history to earn a three-win promotion to the PGA TOUR with his win in Rochester. Jarrod Lyle and Colt Knost, both with two victories this year, will be looking for their third win. The $600,000 event will be televised on the Golf Channel.