Gomez wins Chitimacha Louisiana Open by six shotstext sizeMarch 28, 2010
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff
BROUSSARD, La. -- Argentina's Fabian Gomez left nothing to chance. With most of the field stuck in neutral during the windy final round of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, Gomez charged to the front of the pack and cruised to his first career title, topping the field by a tournament-record six strokes.
Gomez' stellar iron play constantly put him in birdie range and the 31-year old kept knocking short putt after short putt en route to a 7-under 64 during the last day at Le Triomphe Country Club. His 15-under 269 total was a half-dozen shots better than Kyle Reifers (67), Scott Gutschewski (70) and Brian Vranesh (70), a playoff runner-up here last year.
"Every time I turned around he was throwing darts in there," said Vranesh, who was in the group immediately in front of the winner. "When it's your week to win, that happens."
Gomez collected $99,000 and joined Miguel Carballo, winner of the 2007 Panama Movistar Championship, as the only winners from Argentina in Tour history. His victory moves him to No. 3 on the money list after five events.
"It was the best round of my career under the conditions," Gomez said through his interpreter. "To win here on the Nationwide Tour gets me one step closer to my goal of reaching the PGA TOUR."
Gomez had the field shaking their heads in disbelief as he posted the low score of the day by three shots and the lowest round of the week. His 64 stood alone on a day when the scoring average for the par-71 course was 72.727.
"I don't know where he was playing," said Gutschewski. "He wasn't playing the same course I was."
Gomez was an island unto himself as the winds gusted 25-30 mph. His ability to keep the ball under the wind proved to be the difference Sunday despite hitting only five of 13 fairways.
"I'm the kind of player that does well under windy conditions," he said. "I knew at the beginning I would have to play a little more aggressive because I was two shots back."
Gomez was two back of 54-hole leader Andrew Buckle (77/T18) to start the day but moved to the front with three birdies on his first five holes.
He birdied two par-5s from three feet and the par-4, 4 th hole by tapping in from six inches. He had eight birdies, none of which was longer than nine feet. All totaled, his eight birdie putts only measured 22 feet.
"I knew I would have to deal with some tough conditions today," he said. "It was easy to make bogey. I had to focus shot by shot. Even the short putts were tough."
Gomez, who finished the week No. 1 in putting, grabbed the lead and never relinquished as Vranesh tried to stay close. Gomez was up by two over Vranesh after consecutive birdies at Nos. 12 and 13. The lead grew to four when the challenger bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16 and when Gomez rolled in back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17, the lead was insurmountable.
"I really didn't pay much attention to the leaderboards until after I birdied 16," said Gomez. "I asked my caddie where we stood. Then I asked if I was very close to second place."
He wasn't. He wasn't close to anyone.
• Gomez' victory margin is the largest on the Nationwide Tour since Mathias Gronberg won the 2009 Melwood Prince George's County Open.
• Rookie James Hahn of Alameda, Calif. posted a 3-under 68 and a 8-under 276 total. Hahn tied for fifth this week, his second top-10 finish of the year. The former Cal Bear standout is 5-for-5 in cuts made this season and now has four top-25 finishes. Hahn moved from No. 17 to No. 13 on the money list with his effort this week.
• Kyle Reifers shot a 4-under 67 and finished 9-under 275 and T2, his best finish since a T3 at the 2008 Knoxville Open, a span of 43 starts. Reifers was T29 at the Panama CLARO Championship and T40 at the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open.
• Monday qualifier Casey Clendenon finished T14 and by virtue of his top-25 effort, will gain a spot in the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae, the Tour's next stop in two weeks. Clendenon, a Houston resident and a 2008 graduate of Lamar University, posted rounds of 68-71-68-72. He was the only player in the field to register two eagles this week -- one in round one and the other in round two.
• Cameron Tringale shot a final-round 68 to move up and finish T8. Tringale is a rookie on the PGA TOUR after successfully navigating last year's q-school. Tringale, a 2009 graduated of Georgia Tech, missed his first four cuts on Tour before a T19 at the Puerto Rico Open. This was his first start on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 and only his second career start on this Tour.
• Third-round leader Andrew Buckle of Australia struggled to a 77 today. Buckle was 1-under for the day after five holes but stumbled with a bogey at No. 6 and a double-bogey at the par-5, 7 th hole to fall off the pace. Bogeys at Nos. 11, 13 and 14 left him seven back of the leader at the time. Buckle wound up T18.
• The opening hole, a 555-yard, par-5 played straight downwind Sunday. There were 23 birdies and 43 pars on the hole. Nothing else. The scoring average for the hole today was 4.652 and it was the easiest hole on the course in the last round.
• There were only 4 eagles on Sunday and all of them came at the par-5, 11 th hole.
Round Front 9 Back 9 Total Round 1 35.826 36.250 72.076 Round 2 35.050 35.362 70.411 Round 3 35.727 35.970 71.697 Round 4 36.652 36.076 72.728 Cumulative 35.679 35.878 71.556
• Scoring averages for the week:
• The Nationwide Tour will take the next two weeks off before resuming the 2010 schedule at the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California April 12-18.