(BOISE, ID – September 2012) – Luke Guthrie’s homework might be late.
The 22-year-old Web.com Tour rookie has been trying to balance a professional golf career while finishing his studies at the University of Illinois where he is 13 credit hours shy of his business degree. Thanks to his effort Sunday, it looks like he’s destined for a long and successful career in the golf business.
Guthrie fired a 6-under 65 in the final round of the Albertsons Boise Open to finish with a tournament-record 22-under total and win for the first time as a pro. The Quincy, Ill., native quickly erased a two-stroke deficit with a par-birdie-eagle start and then slowly pulled away from a packed leaderboard to win by four strokes.
Richard H. Lee (66), Scott Gardiner (69), Steve Wheatcroft (69) and third-round leader Michael Putnam (71) shared second place at 18-under. Tyrone van Aswegen (70) was sixth, five shots back.
In addition to some nice crystal, Guthrie also picked up a check for $130,500 which pushed him to No. 4 on the money list and locked up a berth on the PGA TOUR for 2013. Not bad for a guy who has two homework assignments due Monday morning.
“It was awesome,” said Guthrie of his day. “I know it probably hasn’t sunk in yet. I couldn’t be more proud of how I played.” Guthrie learned from earlier mistakes — he was the 54-hole co-leader at the Cox Classic last month but finished T3 — and did his best to relax and enjoy the challenge.
“One of my main goals today was just to have fun,” he said. “I kind of shot myself in the foot a few times just being too uptight and wanting it too bad and worrying about where this might put me on the money list. That’s all kind of irrelevant once you tee it up.”
Putnam was the man beat when the day began, having set 36- and 54-hole tournament records en route to a two-stroke bulge over five players. An early bogey by the leader opened the door for someone to step up and take command.
Guthrie jumped the front with a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5, 3rd hole and did his best to play “aggressive-conservative golf” the rest of the way.
“Pick a conservative target but make sure you play aggressively to it,” he said of his strategy. “I played smart. Attack the easy holes and hunker down and make solid pars.”
Guthrie turned the front with a two-stroke lead and upped it to three with a short birdie putt at No. 10.
“I knew it was going to be a shootout today,” said the winner. “It was so bunched at the top and if you’re going out there trying to protect something you’re not going to do too good.”
Guthrie used the conservative approach to chalk up pars on the next four holes before getting aggressive on the 293-yard, 15th hole. He bombed driver into a greenside bunker, blasted his second to within a few feet and canned the birdie putt, getting him to 21-under.
A two-putt birdie on the reachable par-5, 16th increased his lead to four, gave him the tournament record and slammed the door on first place.
“I got to enjoy the walk up 18,” he said. “I was just enjoying the moment and taking everything in.”
• Guthrie’s 22-under-par total of 262 broke the tournament record by one stroke. Guthrie broke the mark of 21-under 263 set by Jon Mills in 2007 and matched by Hunter Haas in 2010.
• Guthrie’s winning check for $130,500 pushed his season total to $283,463 and jumped him from No. 22 to No. 4 on the season money list with six events left on the 2012 schedule.
• Guthrie becomes the 14th first-time winner in 21 Web.com Tour events.
• Guthrie becomes the 7th rookie winner in 21 Web.com Tour events.
• Guthrie, at the age of 22 years 7 months and 15 days, becomes the second-youngest winner on the Web.com Tour this year. Ben Kohles was 22-5-5 when he won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, defeating Guthrie in a playoff.
• University of Oregon men’s golf coach Casey Martin fired a 1-over 72 and wound up T55. The last time Martin played and made a cut on the Web.com Tour was the 2006 Oregon Classic, which is played near Eugene, home to the University where Martin now coaches.
By Joe Chemycz PGA TOUR
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