Driscoll wins Nashville Golf Open, his first Tour title since 2004
June 19, 2016
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- James Driscoll hadn't yet recorded a top-25 finish in 2016. He changed that with a win at Nashville G&AC. (Nick Dantona/Contributed Photo)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – James Driscoll dunked his second shot at the par-4 12th hole for eagle Sunday to break away from a packed leaderboard beneath him at the inaugural Nashville Golf Open for his second career Web.com Tour victory. His 160-yard hole-out for eagle was sandwiched between birdies at No. 11 and No. 13, completing a 4-under, three-hole stretch on the back nine to secure his first Web.com Tour title since 2004.
His 19-under 269 edged out Brian Campbell by three shots and the $99,000 winner’s check moved him up to No. 17 on the money list from No. 144.
“That was a great four days,” said Driscoll, who last won at the 2004 Virginia Beach Open. “I think I did a great job of staying out of my own way. I think that’s huge. I think that’s something I’ve been dealing with for a long time and haven’t really realized it until recently. Kept trying too hard and just got to let go and let the subconscious take over and things fall into place.”
James Driscoll's solid win at the Nashville Golf Open
The 38-year-old veteran led by just one entering the 11th hole at Nashville Golf and Athletic Club, but he hit an 8-iron to 20 feet and holed the putt for birdie to begin a torrid three-hole stretch. He followed up his third birdie of the day at the 11th with the shot of the tournament – another 8-iron approach that found the bottom of the cup at the 12th and shut the door on the field.
“Didn’t hit it perfectly but it was on line, mis-hit it a little bit,” he said, “but I told it to get up and it listened and went right in the hole.”
Despite 240 career PGA TOUR starts on his resume, which includes playoff losses at the 2005 Zurich Classic of New Orleans and 2009 Valero Texas Open, Driscoll had struggled in recent years with his last top-10 finish on the TOUR or Web.com Tour coming nearly three years ago at the AT&T National on June 30, 2013. After a 115th-place finish on the Web.com Tour money list a year ago, he was certain he was headed back to second stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, but found out a month after applying that he was able to utilize a one-time exemption for full status on the Web.com Tour as a player with five consecutive years on the PGA TOUR under his belt.
James Driscoll interview after winning the Nashville Golf Open
He had failed to take advantage early in 2016, missing the weekend in seven of his first eight starts. The last missed cut of that stretch, though, was when everything began to change. He found something in his third-round 65 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am Presented by SYNNEX Corporation, and had made the cut in his last two starts, including a season-best T29 at last week’s Rust-Oleum Championship.
“I just couldn’t be more grateful for this win,” he said. “Felt like I’ve always put the hard work in, but at some point in this game it comes down to getting out of your own way. It’s cliché but it’s true. I think I’ve been getting in my way own way for a long time. It was good enough this week.”
Rookie Brian Campbell posted his second runner-up finish in his last three starts. The former Illinois All-American has now posted four top-10s in his last five starts, including three consecutive top-10s, to move up to ninth on the Web.com Tour money list with $148,950. Campbell entered the day one shot back of Driscoll’s lead but immediately bogeyed the first hole and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the round. His 3-under 69, which included birdies at two of his last four holes, left him three short of Driscoll in solo second.
Joel Dahmen and Mark Anderson finished in T3 at 15-under 273.
* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy with a daytime high of 91 degrees and winds SE at 7-14 mph.
* This week’s purse is $550,000, with $99,000 going to Driscoll.
* On his way to his third top-10 of the year, Julian Etulain led the field in greens in regulation with a 56-of-72 effort, but the Argentinian was T64 in putts per round. Nevertheless, Etulain is up to No. 11 on the Web.com Tour money list after a T6 finish this week.
* Grayson Murray posted his third top-10 of the season with a career-best fifth-place finish with rounds of 68-71-65-70—274.
* Wesley Bryan will hold the money-list lead for the seventh straight week after posting a T9 finish, his fourth top-10 of the season, to earn $15,400.
The two-time Web.com Tour winner has now earned $296,092 for the season and leads Richy Werenski’s second-place total by $32,622. Bryan is in the field next week at the PGA TOUR’s Quicken Loans National for his second career PGA TOUR start. In his TOUR debut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic a week ago, Bryan was T6 after 36 holes but struggled during a third-round 78 on his way to a T58 finish.
* Joel Dahmen nudged as close as one shot of Driscoll’s lead Sunday on his way to a career-best T3 finish. Dahmen, who beat testicular cancer in 2011, moved up to 18th on the Web.com Tour money list.