Kendall makes clutch birdie to clinch title in Colombia

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Skip Kendall is off to a spectacular start in 2012 with a victory in Colombia.
February 19, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Skip Kendall rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, the first tournament on the 2012 Nationwide Tour schedule. Kendall needed only an even-par 71 at the Country Club of Bogota to claim his third career title.


Kendall finished at 10-under 274 but had to wait to see if fellow third-round co-leader, and playing partner, Andrew Svoboda would make his 20-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff. Svoboda's putt came up inches short putting Kendall back in the winner's circle for the first time since the 2007 Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

"It was one of those putts that you could get a good line on and I had a really good feeling over it," said Kendall, who picked up a check for $108,000. "Fortunately I hit a good putt and to see it tracking towards the middle of the hole was pretty special. In a way, I'm glad I went first and made the putt."

At 47 years, 5 months and 10 days Kendall also becomes the fourth-oldest to win in Tour history.

Svoboda held the lead during much of the final round after a birdie at No. 5 but couldn't muster any more and played the final nine holes 2 over. His 1-over 72 left him at 9-under 275 and tied with Andres Gonzales, who shot a 3-under 68 and was done at 9-under and hoping for a playoff.

James Hahn (70) and 49-year old Kirk Triplett (72) tied for fourth, two shots back of Kendall.

Svoboda and Kendall began the final in a share of the lead with Triplett only one back. Kendall was forced to chase the lead after starting his day with back-to-back bogeys.

"I was thinking about that when I was out there. In a way, it relaxed me because I figured I got my bogeys out of the way," he said. "I thought, let's just move on and try to hit solid shots. I knew Andrew was ahead of me all day at 11-under so I figured if I could hang on to his coattails and try to catch him that I'd be in pretty good shape."

Kendall, a veteran of 591 combined starts on the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour, hung tough and canned a couple of birdies to take sole possession of the lead midway through the back nine.

"I was watching the leaderboards on the back nine and it was good to see that no one was going real low and I wouldn't have to play catch up," he said. "It was tough to get at some of the pins today. I played very solid all day. I think I only missed two greens."

Kendall stumbled with a bogey at No. 16 to drop into a tie. He and Svoboda came to the 570-yard, 18th still tied for the lead.

"I knew Andres was in at 9-under and I knew I needed something," he said after the threesome all laid up short of the water that guards the front of the green. "I was a little disappointed that my wedge came up that much short."

Fourth-Round Notes:

• Sunday's weather: Partly to mostly cloudy with light afternoon rain showers. Wind W-NW 5-10 mph. High of 66.

• With his win today, Kendall becomes the fourth-oldest winner in Nationwide Tour history:

Oldest winners
Player Age Event
Kirk Triplett 49 years, 4 months, 29 days 2011 News Sentinel Open
Steve Pate 48 years, 9 months, 11 days 2010 Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open
Dick Mast 48 years, 6 months, 17 days 1999 New Mexico Classic
Skip Kendall 47 years, 5 months, 10 days 2012 Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship
Allen Doyle 47 years, 3 months, 26 days 1995 Tour Championship
Allen Doyle 47 years, 1 month, 1 day 1995 Texarkana Open

• With his win today, Kendall also becomes the third consecutive player in his 40s to win this tournament:

2010 Steve Pate -- 48 years, 9 months, 11 days 2011 Brenden Pappas -- 40 years, 9 monhts, 29 days 2012 Skip Kendall -- 47 years, 5 months, 10 days

Skip Kendall's win comes in his 179th career start on the Nationwide Tour. He first joined the Tour in 1991.

Andrew Svoboda's T2 finish his career best. Svoboda, in his third full season on Tour, had five previous top-10 finishes. His previous best were a trio of seventh-place finishes -- 2010 Knoxville News Sentinel Open (T7), 2010 Utah Championship (T7) and 2011 Midwest Classic (7).

Andres Gonzales matched his career-best finish with his T2. Gonzales was a playoff runner-up at the 2011 Soboba Golf Class.

• Veteran Kevin Johnson fired a 3-under 67 to move into a tie for sixth place, his first top-10 since he won the 2009 Knoxville Open in a playoff. Johnson, a six-time Tour winner, did not have a top-10 in 26 starts on the PGA TOUR in 2010 nor did he have a top-10 in 14 Nationwide Tour starts in 2011.

• Rookie Tom Hoge (Hoagie), making only his second career start, shot a 3-under 68 to finish at 7-under 277 and tied for sixth. Hoge, a 2011 graduate of TCU, missed the cut at the 2011 WNB Golf Classic (Midland, TX) in his only Nationwide Tour start.

Kirk Triplett was trying to add his name to the record book as the oldest winner in Nationwide Tour history, again. Triplett, who turns 50 on March 29, already owns the mark, thanks to his win at the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville last year. He won at the age of 49 years, 4 months and 29 days.

• Six players were making their first Nationwide Tour start this week.

Jeff Cuzzort 75-74 -- 149 m/c Erik Flores 67-68-74-72 -- 281 T20 Paul Haley 71-71-67-74 -- 283 T33 Bio Kim 73-69-70-75 -- 287 T58 Adam Long 76-72 -- 148 m/c Hudson Swafford 68-69-70-75 -- 282 T27

• Earlier in the week, former President Bill Clinton was in town to play in the Wednesday Pro-Am. D.J. Brigman, the Chairman of the Nationwide Tour Players Advisory Council, had the honor playing with President Clinton and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Joining them were Jose Francisco Arata, the president and executive director of Pacific Rubiales Energy, the tournament sponsor, and German Calle, the tournament executive director. Brigman carded rounds of 69-69-70-75 and finished T33.

• Best rounds of the day: 67 -- Kevin Johnson, Bronson La'Cassie

• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for rounds one and two but NOT for round three or round four.

• Scoring averages for the week:

Front 9 (35) Back 9 (36) Total (71) Cumulative
Round 1 35.750 36.792 72.542  
Round 2 35.307 35.978 71.285  
Round 3 34.616 36.658 71.274  
Round 4 35.969 36.014 71.973 71.831

• The Nationwide Tour will take next week off before heading to Central America for the Panama Claro Championship Feb. 27 to March 4.