La'Cassie wins playoff at Cox Classic

August 25, 2013
By Royce Thompson and Joe Chemcyz, Tour staff

OMAHA, Neb. – Bronson La’Cassie never thought about winning this week choosing to just focus on playing golf instead. It was that mindset that allowed him to overcome a bogey on No. 16 to fall two-strokes behind Matt Bettencourt with two holes to play at Champions Run.

La’Cassie responded by going birdie-birdie to tie Bettencourt at 21-under par at the end of regulation. The Australian would go on to win with a two-putt par on the third playoff hole at the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha for his first victory on the Tour.

La’Cassie’s triumph was worth $144,000. He finishes the Regular Season No. 6 on the money list to earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2013-14 season.

John Peterson (67) came up one-stroke shy of the playoff at 20-under 264.

Finishing three back in a tie for fourth were D.J. Brigman (64) and Kevin Tway (65).

“It feels really good, it gives you the belief that you can do it again so it feels great,” said La’Cassie. “I’ve never been to the TOUR before so that will be sweet."

La’Cassie’s journey in golf started in Australia where he started playing at age six. He did not start getting serious until age 14 and knew that if he wanted to accomplish his goals he would need come to over and play in “the States”.

“I’ve always wanted to play in America watching it on TV back home,” he said. “This is the place you want to be if you’re going to make it.”

La’Cassie made the tough decision to leave home to attend the University of Minnesota to play golf because the coach there used to attend the same high school as him back in Australia. The 30-year-old pro finished his career in college as the first four-time All-American in school history and won many awards including the Big Ten Les Bolstad Award for lowest season stroke average. He also holds two of the top 10 scoring averages in Gopher golf history.

La’Cassie will now set his sights on the Tour Finals to position himself with the highest priority ranking possible for next season. He plans to keep it simple in these final four events and keep the same demeanor he used to win in a playoff Sunday afternoon.

“I’m playing well,” he said. “I’m really not going to worry about too much and just keep playing.”

Bettencourt may have lost in a playoff but he did win this week. He played this year out of the past champions category on the PGA TOUR and only got into nine events. The runner-up finish moved him to No.16 on the final money list, earning him a return trip to the TOUR next season.

This is the 38-year-old’s second consecutive runner-up finish on Tour and he plans to build off those performances and focus his attention on the Tour Finals starting next week at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“It’s good to have my card back,” he said. “I feel great and I’m looking forward to playing next week.”

Fourth-Round Notes:
* Sunday’s weather: Sunny. Wind S 8-18 mph, gusting 20-25 mph in the afternoon. High of 94.

* Australia’s Bronson La’Cassie earned his first career win in his 73rd career start.

* La’Cassie picked up the winner’s check for $144,000 and moved from No. 33 to No. 6 on the money list and earn his PGA TOUR card for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

*La’Cassie becomes the 12th first-time winner in 21 events this year.

* La’Cassie has made the cut in 10 of19 starts this season. He also posted top-10 finishes at the Mid-Atlantic Championship (T3) and the Albertsons Boise Open (T3).

* La’Cassie becomes the third foreign-born winner on Tour this year. He joins Benjamin Alvarado (Chile/Chile Classic) and Alex Aragon (Mexico/WNB Golf Classic) in the category.

* La’Cassie becomes the second foreign-born winner of the Cox Classic. He joins 1999 champion Mathew Goggin of Australia in that category.

* La’Cassie is now 1-0 in playoffs on the Tour.

* Today’s playoff was the fourth on Tour this year – United Leasing Championship, Utah Championship, Albertsons Boise Open.

* Today’s playoff was the fifth in tournament history – 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2008.

* Matt Bettencourt is now 0-2 in career playoffs on Tour. He was runner-up to D.A. Points at the 2008 Miccosukee Championship.

* Bettencourt collected the runner-up check for $86,400 and moved from No. 63 to No. 16 on the money earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2013-14 season.

* Leading money winner Michael Putnam maintained his grasp of the top spot and finished the regular season at No. 1 earned Full Exempt status for the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. Putnam started the week with a $37,735 lead over No. 2 Ben Martin. Putnam posted a 14-under total this week to finish T12, while Martin wound up at 7-under and T40. Putnam finished his season with $450,184, with Martin ending the year at No. 2 with $399,769, a difference of $50,415. In addition to his fully exempt status Putnam also earns a sponsor exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship next May.

* Putnam’s season total of $450,184 moved him to fifth spot on the Tour’s single-season money record list:

$644,142 Michael Sim 2009 (14 starts)
$495,009 Troy Matteson 2005 (27 starts)
$494,882 Zach Johnson 2003 (23 starts)
$452,951 Jamie Lovemark 2010 (22 starts)
$450,184 Michael Putnam 2013 (19 starts)
$447,863 Matt Bettencourt 2008 (29 starts)
$445,421 Richard Johnson 2007 (25 starts)
$437,035 Brendon de Jonge 2008 (28 starts)
$433,453 Casey Wittenberg 2012 (24 starts)

* This was the final regular season event on the 2013 schedule and the last opportunity for players to crack the top-25 on the money list and earn PGA TOUR cards for next year. Here’s the biggest movers on the money list and who moved into top-25 spots.

Player  Finish   Was # Now #
Daniel Chopra    T48 19 21
Kevin Foley    T48 20 24
Andy Svoboda MC 21 25
Steven Alker MC 22 26
Ashley Hall MC 23 27
Mathew Goggin MC 24 28
Patrick Cantlay MC 25 29
Wes Roach T16 26 22
Whee Kim MC 27 32
Scott Parel T33 28 31
Miguel Carballo T12 29 23
Chad Collins T30 30 33

* Four players that were outside the top-25 played their way into the top-25 with their efforts this week:
P1. Bronson La’Cassie up from No. 33 to No. 6
P2. Matt Bettencourt up from No. 63 to No. 16
T12. Miguel Carballo up from No. 29 to No. 23
T16. Wes Roach up from No. 26 to No. 22

* Four players dropped out of the top-25 after missing the 36-hole cut:
m/c Steven Alker down from No. 22 to No. 26
m/c Ashley Hall down from No. 23 to No. 27
m/c Mathew Goggin down from No. 24 to No. 28
m/c Patrick Cantlay down from No. 25 to No. 29

* Three players that were outside the top-75 played their way into the top-75 with their efforts this week:
T7 Len Mattiace up from No. 80 to No. 58
T9 Oscar Fraustro up from No. 95 to No. 73
T12 Andrew Loupe up from No. 86 to No. 70

* Three players dropped out the top-75 this week:
m/c James Nitties down from No. 73 to No. 76
m/c Kevin Kim down from No. 74 to No. 77
m/c Michael Connell down from No. 75 to No. 78

*Len Mattaice started the week No. 80 on the money list needing a great week to climb inside the top 75 to qualify for the Tour Finals. His 67 in the final round placed him in a tie for seventh putting him at No.58.

“It’s a real good feeling,” he said. “I’m happy with it and I look forward to the next four weeks.”

Mattaice feels good about his game at the moment and believes that his swing has come into form just in time to make some noise at the Finals which start next week.

“I think I made one bad swing the entire tournament,” he said. “With the pressure on it feels good to be able to execute. It’s a good feeling.”

*This was the final week for players to get into the top-75 on the money list and qualify for the four events of the Tour Finals. Here is how the “bubble” boys fared and where they stand on the final regular season money list:

65. Camilo Benedetti  66-69-70-65—270 T12 #54
66. Guy Boros  74-72—146 (+4) m/c #67
67. Aron Price  69-70—139 (-3) m/c #68
68. Ariel Canete  67-74—141 (-1) m/c #69
69. Scott Harrington  72-68—140 (-2) m/c #72
70. Nick Flanagan  68-72—140 (-2) m/c #75
71. Adam Crawford  70-68-70-77—285 64 #71
72. Troy Merritt  71-66-73-68—278 T45 #74
73. James Nitties  68-71—139 (-3) m/c #76
74. Kevin Kim  69-72—141 (-1) m/c #77
75. Michael Connell  70-76—146 (+4) m/c #78
76. Zack Sucher  76-71—147 (+5) m/c #79
77. Morgan Hoffmann  DNP #80
78. Paul Claxton  70-69—139 m/c #81
79. Scott Brown  DNP #82
80. Len Mattiace  67-64-70-67—268 T7 #58

* Among the players in the top-25 on the money list to miss the cut this week:

#3 Chesson Hadley  68-71—139 (-3)
#4 Edward Loar  69-71—140 (-2)
#11 Jamie Lovemark  76-67—143 (+1)
#12 Kevin Kisner  74-70—144 (+2)
#13 Danny Lee  72-71—143 (+1)
#21 Andrew Svoboda  71-68—139 (-3)
#22 Steven Alker  71-75—146 (+4)
#23 Ashley Hall  67-72—139 (-3)
#24 Mathew Goggin  68-71—139 (-3)
#25 Patrick Cantlay  71-68—139 (-3)

* Those in the top-25 who did not play this week:
#7 Mark Anderson
#8 Alex Aragon
#9 Tim Wilkinson
#15 Benjamin Alvarado
#18 Brendon Todd

* The 315-yard, 9th hole continues to be an easy mark for the field. The driveable par-4, which has been the easiest par-4 on the Tour for the past seven consecutive years, is currently yielding a scoring average of 3.529. There have been a total of 15 eagles over the four days. There were a total of 18 eagles on that hole in both 2007 and 2008, the most in any single year.

* Players with eagle-2s at the par-4, 9th hole:
R1 – Andrew Loupe, Hudson Swafford, Kent Jones, Todd Demsey
R2 –Wes Roach, Manuel Villegas, Randall Hutchison, Ryan Spears, Jamie Lovemark, Derek Fathauer
R3 – Fernando Mechereffe
R4 – Matt Bettencourt, Andrew Loupe, Manuel Villegas, Will MacKenzie

Front (35)   Back (36) Total (71)
R1    34.179 35.218 69.697
R2    34.755 35.212 69.967
R3   34.308 35.123 69.431
R4    34.308 35.462 69.769
Total  34.416 35.238 69.654

* The Tour heads east next week for the first of the four Finals events. The inaugural Hotel Fitness Championship will be played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. August 26-September 1.