Haley sews up first victory in Chile|
Santiago, Chile (Sports Network) - Paul Haley's II final round paled in
comparison to his first three, but it was more than enough to give him the
win at the Chile Classic.
By carding a one-under 71, the rookie earned a three-stroke victory, his first
on the Nationwide Tour.
Haley finished at 22-under-par 266 in just his third start on the tour, three
shots ahead of Joseph Bramlett. Haley had started the final round with a
staggering six-shot advantage, but watched as Bramlett and several others got
closer and closer to the top of the leaderboard.
At one point, Bramlett was within two shots of first, but Haley used birdies
at holes 12 and 13 to widen the gap. Bramlett went into the clubhouse at
Prince of Wales Country Club with an eight-under 64 and finished at 19-under
269. Haley dropped a stroke at 15, but parred out to secure the win in the
first edition of this new event.
Paul Claxton (68) ended in third at minus-18, while Steven Alker (66), Rob
Oppenheim (69) and Alex Aragon (70) shared fourth at 16-under 272.
Haley used back-to-back 64s on Friday and Saturday to vault into the lead and
build a sizable advantage. Following the third round, he sat at minus-21, with
Brad Elder his closest competition at 15-under.
The 24-year-old Texan started well, with a birdie at the second, but he wasn't
pouring them in like he did during his middle two rounds.
Instead, a bogey at the eighth dropped Haley back to 21-under and trimmed his
cushion to four strokes over three players.
Bramlett had birdied the 14th to reach minus-17, then birdied the par-three
15th to get within three of the leader. Soon after, Oppenheim birdied the 13th
to join Bramlett at 18-under.
A double-bogey at his next hole ruined Oppenheim's chances, but Bramlett kept
rising. A birdie at the 17th had Bramlett at minus-19, and suddenly, Haley's
edge was down to two.
"I didn't have any idea what he was doing. I figured he was just off and
running and going to do his own thing," said Bramlett. "He was 10 shots ahead
of me to start the day and if he keeps playing the way he has been he's out of
But Bramlett simply ran out of holes. He had just one left and parred it,
leaving the championship entirely in Haley's hands. With most of his back nine
left, Haley had to avoid squandering his lead and passed the test.
The consecutive birdies got him to minus-23, and gave him enough cushion for
the late bogey.
"I was hitting my irons fairly well and my putter felt great all day," Haley
said. "I figured if I could somehow get a ball in the fairway, the birdies
would eventually come."
Nobody else could provide a serious challenge at that point. Claxton was
sitting at minus-17 after a birdie at the ninth, but took a step backward with
a double-bogey at 11. While he made three birdies in four holes late in his
round, they were only enough for him to move up to third place.
NOTES: Teenage amateur Juan Cerda, from Santiago, shot a 72 and ended in a tie
for 61st at minus-five...Of the 74 players to reach the weekend, all but two
finished below par...Haley earned $108,000 for the victory...This event was
the last of three season-opening tournaments held outside the United States.
The Nationwide Tour takes a week off before holding its first U.S. event of
2012, the Louisiana Open. Brett Wetterich is the defending champion...There is
just one more tour event outside the U.S., an early June trip to Mexico.
03/11 19:13:41 ET