Atwal claims first win at Wyndham Championship|
Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) - Arjun Atwal doesn't have to worry about
where he will play for the next two years.
Atwal closed with a three-under 67 Sunday to earn his first PGA Tour victory
at the Wyndham Championship. He finished the event at 20-under-par 260.
The India native had lost his tour status after failing to earn enough money
during a minor medical extension this year. With the victory, he gains status
on the PGA Tour for the remainder of this year and the next two years as well.
"Obviously it was a long time dream of mine to win out here, but until it
happens you just keep doubting yourself," Atwal stated. "Believe me, I had my
doubts teeing it up today, even with the lead.
"Until you do it, you don't know. I'm just so glad that putt went in. I was
real nervous over that putt. That was the most nervous I've been in my entire
Atwal also became the first Monday-qualifier to win on the PGA Tour in 24
years. Fred Wadsworth was the last Monday-qualifier to win and that was at the
1986 Southern Open.
David Toms closed with a six-under 64 at Sedgefield Country Club to take
second at minus-19.
Michael Sim and John Mallinger both fired eight-under 62s to jump into a share
of third at 18-under-par 262. They were joined there by Justin Leonard (65)
and John Rollins (65).
For most of the round, Atwal and Lucas Glover were battling for the lead. As
Glover stumbled down the stretch, Toms flew into contention with three birdies
over the final four holes.
As Toms was making his run, Atwal poured in a 13-foot birdie putt on the 14th
to move to 19-under. Toms drained a 26-footer for birdie at the last to join
"I knew I had to make that putt to have any chance at all and just one of
those kind of putts, I felt good over it," Toms explained. "You can be
aggressive with those. Perfect speed and perfect line."
Atwal responded with a six-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th. He two-
putted for par on 17, then got up and down for par at the last to secure his
first PGA Tour victory.
"As soon as I Monday qualified, I said to my caddie that we've got nothing to
lose this week," said Atwal, who picked up $918,000 for the win. "I just
wanted to out there and try to win it. I didn't have a card so I just went out
there and free-wheeled it."
Glover briefly took the lead from Atwal on the front nine. The 2009 U.S. Open
champion ran off five consecutive birdies from the third to join Atwal in the
lead at 19-under.
After a par on the eighth, Glover sank a seven-footer for birdie on the ninth
to take the lead at minus-20. His troubles started at the 10th though. He
missed the green, then hit a poor chip on 10.
Glover two-putted for bogey from the 13 feet to slip into a share of the lead.
He dropped shots on the 14th and 17th to close out a three-under 67, which
left him alone in seventh place at minus-17.
"I didn't play good. Didn't make any putts and missed too many fairways and
greens," Glover stated. "I didn't make anything coming in. Three-over on the
back, you don't win doing that."
Atwal got off to a steady start with back-to-back pars. He made a six-footer
for birdie on three and came right back with a eight-foot birdie effort on
four. Atwal was two clear of Glover at that point.
However, Atwal parred seven straight holes from the fifth before dropping his
only shot of the final round. He found sand off the tee on the par-three 12th
and made bogey from there to fall one back. Atwal rallied to win for the first
time in the Unites States since winning on the Nationwide Tour in 2008.
Webb Simpson fired a seven-under 63 Sunday to jump into a share of eighth
place. He was joined at 16-under-par 264 by Chris Riley (64), Scott Piercy
(68) and Brandt Snedeker (67).
NOTES: Piercy was the only player to move into the top 125 on the FedEx Cup
points list so he will be in the field next week for The Barclays...His move
knocked Chris Stroud, who missed the cut this week, out of the top 125...The
playoffs start on Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey,
where Heath Slocum won last year.
08/22 20:08:09 ET