Peter Uihlein secures PGA TOUR card with Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship win
Columbus, Ohio – Could it be possible that Peter Uihlein’s love for baseball led to his victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Sunday afternoon? Earlier this year, Uihlein played in the Shell Houston Open and finished his final round early enough to catch his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, battle their biggest rival, the New York Yankees, in primetime.
Uihlein, who has played the European Tour the past 4 years, accomplished his goal by carding a final-round 65 at The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course to beat local favorite Ryan Armour by a stroke. The victory was worth $180,000 and places the 28-year-old from New Bedford, Mass. on top of the Web.com Tour Finals money list with three events left.
“I got the last game, Sunday night,” said Uihlein. “Never had that in five years. I'm never home on a Sunday night after playing a round of golf on a Sunday without making a cut. First time ever, and you kind of like sit back and be like that's pretty convenient. That kind of hit home a little bit. So I was like, I really kind of want to at least get my PGA TOUR card so I can have moments like that when I can spend a little time at home with my girlfriend and two dogs.” “This is a proper test,” said Uihlein, referring to the Scarlet Course. “You gotta drive the ball well. You gotta hit your irons well. And it's a shame that it rained because that first day was phenomenal for how fast the greens were, how difficult it was. You know, it changed your mindset a little bit, you need to make some birdies. But it's not a walk in the park.”
Since he turned pro in 2011, Uihlein has flown across the pond to compete in Europe and Asia. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy had the credentials to play on TOUR being a two-time All-American and 2010 United States Amateur champion, but chose to head overseas. “All of a sudden my first event as a pro I end up on a plane to India,” said Uihlein. “You go there for the first time, really not leaving the country very rarely, and all of a sudden you go to India, totally different. It's a different world, different cultures. Just a different environment. You get to see things I never would have seen if I didn't leave America.”
Uihlein arrived in Columbus No. 12 in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He’s enjoyed success outside the U.S. with a win at the Madeira Islands Open along with being named the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. On Saturday, he talked about wanting the chance to become a global player and this winter he’s going to get the opportunity.
“There's so many good events now in Europe,” said Uihlein, who has made 114 starts on the European Tour. “It's really tough. I got to sit down and look at both schedules. I just don't know. I don't know next year's schedule in Europe. I haven't looked at the PGA TOUR schedule. Right now, I don't know where I'm going to be playing but I'm going to try and do both and see what happens.”
Armour hit his worst drive of the week on the 18th and was left with a near impossible second into the home hole. After leaving the approach 20 yards short, the former Ohio State Buckeye sailed his pitch 40 feet behind the hole and missed the par save to force a playoff.
Armour didn’t win the golf tournament, but he secured his return to the TOUR.
“Mission accomplished,” said Armour, about the runner-up performance. “The job was to get back to the TOUR, and that's what happened. I already have a start in Napa, So, that is something that you can take as a positive, and old Scarlet here, I mean she's tough, and I finally got a little piece of her. But the old girl is a really hard golf course.”
Tom Lovelady made a life-changing putt on the 72nd hole. Being in contention on Sunday is stressful enough without the added pressure of trying to earn your TOUR card and the 24-year-old from Mountain Brook, Ala. rose to the occasion. After hitting his approach on No. 18 to 10 feet, Lovelady drained the birdie bid and celebrated with a fist pump, knowing that was to get on TOUR next season.
“Unbelievable,” said Lovelady, who earned $58,000 for his T3 effort in Columbus. “I mean it's what I dreamed of. You always hope it comes true. You just never know because golf's a hard game and there are so many good players. There's no other way to put it that it's a dream come true, unbelievable.
Sunday Notes: * Sunday weather: Partly cloudy. High of 77. Wind W/SW 7-14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. * This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to Uihlein. * Uihlein earns his first career win in his third start on Tour. It was his first start as a professional on the Web.com Tour. His previous best finish was a T9 at the 2011 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, which came as an amateur. * Uihlein’s victory comes at age 28 years, 0 months and 5 days. Uihlein turned 28 on Tuesday of the tournament week. * Uihlein is the second former Oklahoma State Cowboy to win in the last three weeks after Talor Gooch won the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot three weeks ago. * With his victory, he earns an exemption into the 2018 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. * With his victory, he is the third consecutive winner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship winner to come from at least three shots back entering the final round. He entered the final round four shots back of Ryan Armour. * Uihlein is the second non-member to win the Web.com Tour Finals opener after Bryson DeChambeau won the DAP Championship a year ago. DeChambeau went on to win the John Deere Classic this year after earning his TOUR card through the Finals. `
About Peter Uihlein HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 195 BIRTHDATE: August 29, 1989 BIRTHPLACE: New Bedford, Massachusetts RESIDENCE: Jupiter, Florida EDUCATION: Oklahoma State University TURNED PROFESSIONAL: 2011 JOINED TOUR: 2017
* Ryan Armour led the field in driving accuracy at 87.50%, hitting 49 of 56 fairways.
* Tom Lovelady, who earns his PGA TOUR card with a T3 finish, posted a career-best T3 finish after birdieing the 72nd hole. He has now posted top-10s in four of his last six starts. Lovelady, who was on Alabama’s 2013 and 2014 national championship teams, was teammates on the Crimson Tide with Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax, who both got their PGA TOUR cards through the Web.com Tour a year ago. Lovelady was teammates in 2013 as well with Justin Thomas, who won the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.
* Before Lanto Griffin’s win at the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation after making the cut on the number, he had made the cut in just four of his first 11 starts of the season with a T19 as his best finish to that point. But Griffin’s season turned around in Nashville, and he’s now made his last 10 cuts with a victory, T6, T8 and three additional top-20s. Griffin’s T8 in Columbus is his third top-10 in his last 10 starts. Griffin moved up to 19th on the combined Regular Season and Finals money list after ending the Regular Season in 22nd to get his PGA TOUR card.
* Keith Mitchell posted his third consecutive top-10 with a T6 finish in Columbus. He held the 36-hole lead after opening with rounds of 65-67 but posted rounds of 70-73 on the weekend. His check of $34,750 would be enough to earn a TOUR card three of the last four years. Mitchell finished No. 26 on the Regular Season money list after finishing one shot shy of earning his TOUR card at the Regular Season finale in Portland.
* Five-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Crane, who is making his first Web.com Tour start since 2001, has played the TOUR full-time since 2002, but had to return to the Web.com Tour Finals after finishing No. 147 in the FedExCup standings. Crane is nearing regaining his TOUR card after a T6 in Columbus. With the T6 finish, Crane earned $34,750, which would be enough to get a Finals card three of the last four years. Crane led the field in scrambling (82.61%).
* Abraham Ancer arrived in Ohio at No. 3 on the Tour money list, just $73,233 behind Brice Garnett, but is now within $17,822 of Garnett after moving into second-place on the combined Regular Season and Finals money list with a solo-fifth place finish. It is Ancer’s sixth top-five of the season. Ancer led the field in putting average (1.591) and putts per round (26.25).
* Brett Stegmaier opened the Web.com Tour Finals with a T8 finish in his bid to return to the PGA TOUR. Stegmaier’s last trip to the Web.com Tour Finals saw him finish 13th on the Finals money list in 2015 to secure his PGA TOUR card. Stegmaier finished No. 101 in the FedExCup standings in 2016 to keep his TOUR card this season, but after finishing No. 181, he’s back at the Web.com Tour Finals hoping to return to the TOUR. Stegmaier led the field in greens in regulation (81.94%).
* 2016 U.S. Amateur Champion Curtis Luck finished T19 in his Web.com Tour debut.
* Three of the last four winners of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship – Seung-Yul Noh (2013), Justin Thomas (2014), and Grayson Murray (2016) – have won on the PGA TOUR within two years of their win in Columbus.
* Four of the top-10 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship a year ago went on to win on the PGA TOUR this year – Murray, Cameron Smith, Cody Gribble and Xander Schauffele.
* This is the first tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., Sept. 25-Oct. 1. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.
* This is the fifth 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 excluding The 25 from the Regular Season money list: 2013 No. 25 Bobby Gates $33,650.00 2014 No. 25 Eric Axley $36,311.66 2015 No. 25 Rob Oppenheim $32,206.00 2016 No. 25 Tim Wilkinson* $27,425.00
*denotes three events played (Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled
* Scoring averages for the week:
Front (36) Back (35) Total (71) Cumulative
R1 36.531 35.608 72.138
R2 36.167 35.921 72.087 72.113
R3 35.521 35.141 70.662 71.629
R4 36.099 34.732 70.831 71.430