Brian DeckerJuly 21, 2013, Winnipeg, MB (ISN) – Carlos Sainz, Jr. of Elgin, Illinois shot a final round 68 at Pine Ridge Golf Club Sunday to win The Players Cup, capturing his first PGA TOUR Canada victory.
The 25-year old Sainz, Jr. finished at 17-under par for the week at the Donald Ross-designed Pine Ridge, making birdie on four of his final six holes to edge out Tucson, Arizona's Nathan Tyler by a stroke.
Final Leaderboard – The Players Cup
(Bold denotes Canadian)
1. Carlos Sainz, Jr. – 68 (-17)
2. Nathan Tyler – 71 (-16)
T-3. Kent Eger – 68 (-14)
T-3. Mackenzie Hughes – 71 (-14)
T-5. Wil Collins – 67 (-13)
T-5. David Skinns – 67 (-13)
T-5. Brady Schnell – 67 (-13)
"That back side was pretty incredible. Four out of the last six – what can I say? The putts just dropped," said Sainz, Jr. "This win was definitely attributed to good putting."
Sainz, Jr. trailed by two shots with six holes to go, but following a double bogey by Tyler at the par-4 11th, the Mississippi State graduate reeled off three straight birdies from the 13th to 15th holes and added another at the 17th to reach 17-under par. After hitting his second shot at the 72nd hole on the green, Sainz, Jr. rolled his first putt eight feet past the hole, but calmly rolled in the comebacker for par.
Tyler birdied the 17th to get within a stroke, but was unable to hole a birdie putt of 50 feet at the last to force a playoff, giving Sainz, Jr. the victory.
"I was nervous, but I wasn't as nervous as I could have been or probably should have been," said Sainz, Jr. of his final putt at the 72nd hole. "I just tried to tell myself 'hit a good putt and just let it happen.' I picked the right line and it went in."
The win earned Sainz, Jr. $27,000, putting him fourth on the Order of Merit, a mere $179.67 short of third place Stephen Gangluff and an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open next week but inside position for The Five Web.com Tour cards available for 2014.
"You want to do so well so you can be in that top five," said Sainz, Jr. "With golf, you have to take it one tournament at a time and do your best. I'm in good position, but I definitely want to contend some more."
Two shots behind Tyler were Regina, Saskatchewan's Kent Eger and Dundas, Ontario's Mackenzie Hughes, who finished at 14-under par in a tie for third. A shot further behind were Albuquerque, New Mexico's Wil Collins, Lincoln, England's David Skinns and Milford, Iowa's Brady Schnell, who all shot final round 67s to finish 13-under par.
Three players earn RBC Canadian Open exemptions
With the top three players on Order of Merit earning exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open next week, Riley Wheeldon, Wil Collins and Stephen Gangluff will all tee it up on the PGA TOUR next week.
The season's first three winners – Gangluff at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open, Collins at the Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel and Wheeldon at the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON – finished in the top three spots, with Gangluff's total of $28,444.17 giving him a $179.67 clearing over Sainz, Jr.
While Gangluff and Collins are both former PGA TOUR members, The 22-year old Wheeldon will be playing in his first ever PGA TOUR event.
"This is what I've been playing for since I first started playing golf. It's finally here," said Wheeldon. "I'm just going to go out there and play my game, shoot the lowest number possible and see where I end up at the end of the week."
Eger earns Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours
Regina, Saskatchewan's Kent Eger earned Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours Sunday, finishing tied with Mackenzie Hughes as low Canadian at 14-under par but winning the tie breaker based on final score (68-71).
The top Canadian each week will earn the honour and a $1,500 cash prize, while the highest Canadian on the Order of Merit at season's end will win Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year honours and a $10,000 cash prize.
Wheeldon currently holds a lead of $17,371.25 over Nick Taylor, who sits in fifth place at $22,556.25, in the season-long race for top Canadian.
- Weather: Partly cloudy with showers in the late evening, 18 degrees Celsius, winds 18 km/h
- Sainz, Jr.'s win was his first professional victory since the 2011 Ohio State Open
- Sainz, Jr's becomes the third winner this season to miss the cut in at least one of the first four events, joining Wil Collins and Stephen Gangluff
- Mitch Evanecz had the longest driving average of the week at 325 yards per drive, while David Skinns' drive of 352 yards on the 2nd hole Sunday was the longest of the week
- The 231-yard par-3 ninth hole was the hardest hole of the week at Pine Ridge Golf Club, averaging 3.52 strokes and yielding just eight birdies for the week, including just one on Sunday from Vancouver, British Columbia's Oliver Tubb
- Sainz, Jr. becomes the fourth straight American to win The Players Cup, following Aaron Goldberg (2010), Tom Hoge (2011) and Chris Killmer (2012)
- Devin Carrey had the best round of the day Sunday with a 6-under 66