LOUISIANA’S ANDREW LOUPE WINS NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Columbus, OH – Former Louisiana State Tiger Andrew Loupe carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday and outlasted the field to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals. Loupe’s 5-under-par 279 total on the demanding Scarlet Course at Ohio State University Golf Club was two strokes better than Tom Hoge (69), Bronson Burgoon (70) and third-round leader Roberto Castro (75).
“I knew what I had on the line,” said Loupe who collected a first-place check of $180,000 and moved up to No. 3 in The Finals’ standings. “I just kept telling myself to take it on this week.”
Mark Hubbard (67), Dawie van der Walt (68), Luke List (71) and Derek Ernst (72) shared fifth place at 2-under 282.
On a day where players were going backwards, Loupe minimized mistakes and took control of the tournament on the back nine. After making three bogeys and three birdies on the outward nine, the 26-year-old two-time All-American went bogey free coming in. Loupe’s birdie on No. 14 gave him the outright lead and helped secure his first win on the Web.com Tour.
“It's been a long time since I've won,” said Loupe. “I guess I've got to cherish these moments. It's hard to win in golf. But I always believed. I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I could do this. To be honest, this course stood out to me. I thought that it was probably my best chance to get one just because you can use length as an advantage a little bit out here.”
The long hitting Loupe played the first two Finals’ events without a driver in his bag. Knowing he could take advantage of the Scarlett, which reminded him of his home course, The University Club, the Baton Rouge native used the driver to his advantage finishing second in driving distance for the week.
“That definitely played a key role,” said Loupe who averaged 319 yards off the tee. “A few more wedges into some greens, flipping a couple of long par 4s around where you have gap wedge or pitching wedge into them. I knew that I would have to do that this week.”
Currently the Scarlet couse is ranked the third toughest course on Tour with a scoring average of 72.773.
Castro, the overnight leader, was impressed with how well Loupe maneuvered the difficult challenge given everything on the line.
“I’m sure he did more than just survive,” said Castro, when asked about how well Loupe played in the final round. “The guy who wins hits the shots when it matters.”
Castro’s day didn’t go as planned. Three bogeys on the back nine derailed the 30-year-old from Atlanta’s hopes of tasting victory. Despite coming up short in his quest for glory, Castro focused on what he accomplished this week in Columbus.
“I’m playing the PGA TOUR next year,” said Castro. “I’m playing good. Next week I can go try and win a golf tournament. It’s a positive step forward.”
Hoge started the final round T12; with only a few weeks left to jockey for position, Sunday’s 2-under round came at the perfect time. The 26-year-old Texas Christian University graduate was clutch coming down the stretch knowing he had a chance to secure his standing.
“I think we’re all thinking about that the whole time,” said Hoge, when asked about trying to lock up his TOUR card. “I knew that I probably had to finish top 10, and so that was the whole focus.”
* Sunday weather: Mostly cloudy with light rain showers after 5 p.m. Wind E-SE 8-16 mph. High of 73.
* This was the third tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Sept. 28-Oct. 4. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded two weeks ago following the WinCo Foods Portland Open. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.
* This is the third year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks. Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years: 2013 No. 25 Bobby Gates $33,650.00 2014 No. 25 Eric Axley $36,311.66 2015 No. 25 Jhonattan Vegas $28,871.85 (through 3 Finals events)
* Peter Tomasulo (+4) and Tom Gillis (+10) both withdrew prior to the start of their fourth rounds Sunday.
* Andrew Loupe earns his first career win in his 44th Web.com Tour start and his eighth start this year. His previous career-best finish was a T5 at the 2013 South Georgia Classic
* Loupe earns his first career win at the age of 26 years, 10 months and 5 days.
* Loupe is the 15th first-time winner on Tour in 2015 through 24 events.
* Loupe is the 14th player in his 20s to win on Tour in 2015 through 24 events.
* Loupe picks up a check for $180,000. He had earned $181,694 in his first 43 career starts on Tour.
* Loupe increases his prize money in the Tour Finals to $190,642 and moves to third place among those players who had not locked up PGA TOUR cards prior to the start of the Finals and locks up his card for the 2015-16 season.
* Loupe’s finishes in the three Web.com Tour Finals: T22 Hotel Fitness Championship $7,902.30 T53 Small Business Connection Championship at River Run $2,740.00 1st Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship $180,000.00
* Loupe played on the PGA TOUR the past two years and his career-best finish in 38 starts was a T4 at the 2014 Valero Texas Open.
* Loupe made only five cuts in 15 starts on the PGA TOUR this past year and wound up No. 198 in the FedExCup standings to barely squeak into the Finals (Nos. 126-200). His best finish was a T6 at the Barbasol Championship.
* Loupe becomes the ninth player in Tour history from Louisiana State to win and the second this year – Smylie Kaufman/United Leasing Championship.
* Loupe chalks up the 12th Tour win by LSU players: Bob Friend, Perry Moss, Emlyn Aubrey (2), David Toms (2), Brian Bateman, Charles Raulerson (2), Scott Sterling, Smylie Kaufman, Andrew Loupe
* Loupe’s winning score of 5-under par is the highest winning score on Tour this year and the only single-digit winning score in 2015. The previous high score this year was fellow LSU alum Smylie Kaufman’s winning score of 10-under par at the United Leasing Championship.
* Loupe’s winning score of 5-under matches the highest winning score in the tournament’s nine-year history – Bill Lunde was also 5-under when he won here in 2008.
* Loupe’s winning score of 5-under is the highest on the Web.com Tour since Edward Loar won the 2012 Panama Claro Championship with a winning score of 4-under par (276).
* Former U.S. Open champion (2009) Lucas Glover fired a 3-under 68 and finish at 1-under 283 and T9 for the week. Glover now has three top-25 finishes in each of the first three Finals events and his paycheck this week will get him closer to earning his PGA TOUR card. T22 Hotel Fitness Championship $7,902 T25 Small Business Connection Championship at River Run $7,946 T9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship $23,142
* San Jose’s Mark Hubbard rebounded from a third-round 76 with a 4-under 67 on Sunday and jumped into a tie for fifth place. Hubard missed the cut at the Hotel Fitness Championship and tied for 30th at the Small Business Connection Championship at River Run. This week’s finish was worth $35,125, which puts him No. 15 on the Final Priority Ranking (not top-25) and gets him closer to earning a return trip to the PGA TOUR next season.
* Hubbard, 26, completed his rookie season on the PGA TOUR this year and made 15 cuts in 25 starts. He had only two top-25 finishes – T20 Humana Challenge, T24 John Deere Classic – and wound up No. 164 in the FedExCup standings.
* Tom Hoge’s 2-under 69 jumped him all the way to No. 7 on the Finals Priority Ranking (not top-25) and will lock up a TOUR card for him in 2015-16. Hoge was a rookie on the PGA TOUR this past year after earning his card in the 2014 Finals series. Hoge made 15 cuts in 26 starts and had a pair of top-10 finishes, including a T5 at the RBC Canadian Open. He ended the season No. 132 on the FedExCup points list.
* Third-round leader Roberto Castro (75) finished two shots off the winning score but his paycheck of $74,666.67 vaulted him to No. 4 on the Finals Priority Ranking (not top-25) and guaranteed a return trip to the PGA TOUR, where he has played the past four seasons. Castro has not won on either Tour in his career and his T2 this week matches his 2nd-place effort at the 2013 AT&T National on the PGA TOUR.
* Regular season money leader Patton Kizzire (WD) maintained the top spot on the money list. South Africa’s Dawie van der Walt jumped up to No. 2 with a T5 finish this week. Kizzire leads van der Walt by $167,131.01 heading into next week’s Tour Championship. Martin Piller (MC) dropped to No. 3 on the money list and trails Kizzire by $189,091.59 and won’t be able to make up the difference even with a win, which will pay out $180,000 to the champion.
* Scoring averages for the week:
Front (36) Back (35) Total (71) Cumulative
R1 36.648 36.328 72.976 ---
R2 37.177 35.509 72.686 72.832
R3 36.625 36.111 72.736 72.794
R4 36.882 35.794 72.676 72.773