Turnesa hangs on in Miami, earns 2008 TOUR card

October 28, 2007
By John Bush PGA TOUR Staff

Miccosukee Championship: Final Results, Money, | Leaderboard

MIAMI -- After a full season of talking about his famous relatives, Marc Turnesa finally made history of his own on Sunday with his victory at the Miccosukee Championship -- the final full-field event of the season on the Nationwide Tour.

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Turnesa took control of the weather-plagued tournament on Saturday morning when he completed a stellar 8-under-par 63 to move to a four-shot lead at the halfway point. Sunday's third and fourth round presented worthy challengers in Albertsons Boise Open winner Jon Mills (70) and hard-charging David Mathis (64), but Turnesa played the 36 holes in 3-under (69-70) to finish at 15-under 269 and one shot in front of the duo.

"Today was a long day," said Turnesa, who began the final round with bogeys on his first two holes before righting the ship with an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole. "It wears on you but when it is time to play golf you have to be ready to play golf. I did that this week and I couldn't be happier."

Turnesa made things interesting on the final hole. He began the par-4 18th hole with a two-stroke lead over Mills and Mathis, but a wayward tee shot found the water hazard and his ensuing shot found the front greenside bunker. He came through in the clutch, however, draining a five-footer for bogey and the one-stroke win.

"I don't think playing 36 holes affected me but the fact that I was playing the 72nd hole may have," said Turnesa. "I was really nervous. But it is great to come out on top. That is the goal we're all out here trying to achieve. I've been out here all year trying to win, so it feels good to get it done in the last tournament."

The Turnesa name probably sounds familiar to avid golf fans, as six of his relatives have played on the PGA TOUR and another, Willie, won the 1938 and 1948 U.S. Amateur Championships. Some of the more notable accomplishments of the family include Turnesa's great-uncle, Jim, winning the 1952 PGA Championship, and his grandfather, Mike, winning six TOUR titles and finishing second to Ben Hogan at the 1948 PGA Championship. Another Turnesa -- Joe -- was a 15-time TOUR winner.

"It is nice to come through for the Turnesa name," said Turnesa. "It means a lot to me. This is what I needed to do to get out there on the PGA TOUR where they all played."

With the $103,500 first-place prize, Turnesa moves from No. 43 to No. 13 on the money list with $235,158. The move into THE 25 guarantees the former North Carolina State golfer his first-ever ticket to the PGA TOUR.

"It feels great to lock up my card," said Turnesa, a 29-year-old native of Greenwich, Conn. "I've known for weeks that if I won I was going to the PGA TOUR. You can't help but think about those things when you're out there."

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The 2007 season has been a rollercoaster ride for Turnesa. His weekend appearances (15) barely outnumber his missed cuts (14), but four top-five finishes were more than enough to give him status as one of the Tour's best players. Prior to Sunday's victory, Turnesa's year had been highlighted by a third-place finish at the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.

"It is not like I've been in contention alot," said Turnesa, who entered the week with two top-20 finishes in his last three starts -- including an 11th-place finish at the Chattanooga Classic and a 17th-place showing at the Mark Christopher Charity Classic. "The only other tournament I had a chance to win was Panama. I had never gotten it done before, so it feels real good to finally do it."

The victory was especially sweet for Turnesa due to its proximity to his home in Jupiter, Fla. -- just 100 miles north of the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club. Turnesa moved to South Florida after graduating in 2001 -- citing the good weather (albeit not this week) and it serving as the host area for a number of mini-Tour events.

"I love South Florida," said Turnesa. "Obviously I thought enough of the area to move here five years ago. But to win my first Nationwide Tour tournament here makes it even more special. It makes it even better winning it here in front of family and friends."

Final Round News & Notes: David Mathis recorded the best round of the day with a 7-under 64, helping him jump from No. 76 to No. 47 on the money list and earn a ticket to next week's Nationwide Tour Championship at Barona Creek. The only other player to jump into the top 60 was Kelly Grunewald (from 67th to 55th on the money list). Chris Riley and Joe Daley dropped out of the top 60 ... Brenden Pappas will occupy the 25th spot for the fourth straight week heading into next week ... Roger Tambellini finished in a tie for eighth place thanks to four consecutive 2-under 69s ... Due to wet conditions, players were allowed to play lift, clean and place all four rounds this week ... With Turnesa's victory, the 54-hole leader has now won 16 of 31 events this season on the Nationwide Tour ... Michael Valicenti withdrew following the third round, while Bradley Hughes (wrist injury) withdrew during the fourth round.