By Associated Press
Aaron Wise’s pure iron leaves 4-foot birdie chance at AT&T Byron Nelson
DALLAS -- Aaron Wise strolled up the 18th fairway in the fading twilight, lifting his hat over his head a couple of times as the thinned-out crowd cheered what would soon be his first PGA TOUR victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
The 21-year-old rookie pulled away from Marc Leishman at the turn after a four-hour rain delay to start the final round at the new Trinity Forest course Sunday. Then it was just a race to finish before nightfall so he wouldn't have to wait at least another 12 hours to celebrate.
Wise shattered the AT&T Byron Nelson record at 23 under, shooting a 6-under 65 to beat Leishman by three strokes as both became the first to finish the AT&T Byron Nelson at 20 under or better. Leishman, who shared the third-round lead with Wise after leading the first two days, shot 68.
The treeless links-style par-71 layout, a few miles south of downtown Dallas, was defenseless with softer fairways and greens and no wind once the morning storms passed.
The AT&T Byron Nelson celebrated its 50th anniversary with a return to Dallas after 35 years at the TPC Four Seasons in suburban Irving. Rory Sabbatini set the previous record on that par-70 layout at 19-under 261 in 2009.
"It's everything I've dreamed of," said Wise, who won once each on the Web.com Tour and Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada. "I felt like when it rained today I was really going to tear the course up just because it allowed me to hit driver, which is my strength. I got a lot of short irons in my hand and was able to make a lot birdies."
Branden Grace matched his career-best 62 from last year's Open Championship -- which was the lowest round ever in a major -- and finished at 19 under with J.J. Spaun and Keith Mitchell, who had matching 63s.
Hometown star Jordan Spieth again couldn't improve on his best AT&T Byron Nelson finish from his first start as a 16-year-old amateur in 2010. The three-time major winner, and highest-ranked player in the field at No. 3, shot 67 to finish at 11 under. Spieth tied for 21st.
Instead, Spieth has been joined by another 21-and-under winner, with Wise cruising a month shy of his 22nd birthday and two weeks after the 2016 NCAA individual champion at Oregon tied for second at the Wells Fargo Championship, two-shots behind Jason Day.
Spieth doesn't have a top-10 finish in eight AT&T Byron Nelson appearances, the most of any tournament for him.
"Felt like I played better than I scored," Spieth said. "Typically when you say that, it just means putts didn't go in."
Mitchell, also a rookie seeking his first win, and Ryan Blaum had matching 30s on the front nine, with both playing the last six holes on that side in 5 under. But Wise had five birdies over those six holes, and added one on the 10th while Leishman bogeyed.
His lead suddenly at four shots, Wise cruised from there without another par -- and didn't need one. Blaum's run of five straight birdies ended with a bogey at 10, one of three on the back nine for him. He shot 66 and finished at 16 under with Kevin Na (68) and Jimmy Walker (67).
Leishman set a 36-hole AT&T Byron Nelson record that was previously shared by Tiger Woods because of calm wind the first two rounds. A blustery Saturday brought scores up, but Trinity Forest was even more benign for the final round than it was the first two without its firm fairways and greens.
"Springtime in Texas, this is very rare to have three days with no wind," Spieth said. "This course typically plays like (Saturday). That's what you're looking at normally three out of the four days here."
Adam Scott shot 65 to finish tied for ninth at 15 under but was projected to finish just outside the top 60 needed to avoid sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. The 2013 Masters champion hasn't missed a major since 2001.
In 2016 Aaron Wise made history by becoming the first University of Oregon golfer to win the NCAA Individual Championship. Days later the team went on to win their first team championship and last August, Wise continued to add to his Oregon golf legacy by earning his PGA TOUR card here at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, earning full membership for the 2017-18 season.
Entering Sunday’s final round at the Wells Fargo Championship, Wise trailed leader Jason Day by three shots, a deficit he erased as he found himself in a share of the lead standing on the 16th tee. Wise went on to par all three holes of ‘The Green Mile’ the difficult closing stretch at Quail Hollow including an impressive up and down on 18. Day would close with two birdies over his final three holes to secure his second win of the season.
The runner up finish was the highest of Wise’s PGA TOUR career and vaulted him 54 spots in the FedExCup standings while his World Golf Ranking climbed 110 spots. One highlight, among many of the former Oregon standout’s breakthrough week was his 383-yard drive on the 16th hole Sunday – the longest of the week by any player which you can see here.
Sitting safely inside the top 125, Wise is a lock to make the FedExCup playoffs in his rookie season. Other rookies finding success on TOUR this year are Austin Cook, Beau Hossler and Andrew Landry who all join Wise in the playoffs this fall. It’s been a rapid progression for Wise since his final tournament as a Duck. From National Champion, to Web.com Tour winner, to PGA TOUR member and with his recent showing at Wells Fargo, now a serious contender for PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year.
WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz Named as Recipient of Web.com Tour’s Best Player Experience Award
Players select fourth-year Portland event as best Tour stop of the season
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz, conducted annually at the historic Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., was awarded with the Web.com Tour’s Best Player Experience Award at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on Thursday, December 7 in Boca Raton, Fla.
“We are honored to present the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz with this wonderful award, decided upon by the Web.com Tour’s players,” said Web.com Tour President Dan Glod. “The tournament team and title sponsor WinCo Foods did an incredible job creating a week unlike any other for our players and their families, and we’re pleased the players have recognized their efforts with this award.”
As the Web.com Tour event with the best player experience, the WinCo Foods Portland Open delivered on numerous fronts, including:
“This is a tremendous honor to receive the award for Best Player Experience,” said WinCo Foods Portland Open Executive Director Jeff Sanders. “It’s always a special week with twenty-five PGA TOUR cards on the line and we have this circled on our calendar all year.” The 2018 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz will return to the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge GC August 16-19.
About the Web.com Tour
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour continues to identify those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. Web.com became the Tour’s umbrella sponsor on June 27, 2012, with a 10-year agreement in place through 2021. In 2013, the Web.com Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR with all 50 available PGA TOUR cards coming through the Web.com Tour and the season culminating at the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. This season marks the 29th year of competition on the Web.com Tour. Three out of four PGA TOUR members are Web.com Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won more than 475 PGA TOUR titles, including 23 major championships and seven PLAYERS Championships. To learn more about the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM, or follow the Tour on social media via Twitter (@WebDotComTour), Facebook (facebook.com/WebDotComTour) and Instagram (Instagram.com/WebDotComTour).
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By Oregonian/OregonLive Sports
Brice Garnett charged through the back nine Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge, closing in 5-under par 30 to distance himself from a packed leaderboard and win the WinCo Foods Portland Open by four strokes.
With the win in Portland Garnett clinches the number one spot on the regular season money list and will play a full PGA Tour schedule next season. The win marked Garnett's second victory in the past two months.
The trio of David Skinns, Ben Silverman and Sam Ryder each posted 14-under totals as Garnett made the turn at 13-under for the tournament. After birdies on the 11th and 13th holes, Garnett closed the door by carding birdies on three of his final four holes, including a 15-foot birdie putt on the closing hole that drew a roar from the Portland crowd.
"I had a good game plan all week to just pound the greens" said Garnett. "Coming down the stretch I hit some really good shoots, made some really good putts and it was really sweet to roll that last one in." When asked about his takeaways from the week Garnett replied, "I fell in love with Portland, fell in love with the golf course and this is a special place to get my second win."
The dramatic conclusion of the chase for 25 PGA Tour cards came down to Roberto Diaz and Keith Mitchell who played alongside Garnett. With a birdie on the 18th hole Mitchell would clinch a spot in the top-25 knocking Diaz to the 26th position. After his birdie attempt slid by the right side of the hole it was Diaz who left Portland with the final PGA Tour card.
Amongst the 25 who earned their PGA Tour cards was hometown favorite Aaron Wise. After winning the 2016 NCAA individual and team championships with the University of Oregon he returned to Oregon this week with the PGA Tour in his sights. Beginning the day three shots off the lead Wise carded a 1-under par 70 that he capped with a birdie on the 18th hole.
"The fans were great all week and came out to support me and it's pretty cool to be the Oregon kid that everyone is rooting for" said Wise when asked about the support in his return to Oregon. With his T-16 finish Wise secured the 18th position in 'The 25.'
Below is the full list of players who earned their PGA Tour cards Sunday afternoon in Portland.
For information and updates about the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz visit WincoGolf.com.
-- Press release from WinCo Foods Portland Open
Brice Garnett started the day in a tie for the lead with three others. Thirteen players began the final round within three shots of the lead and Taylor Moore quickly added himself to the mix by playing his first 12 holes in 10-under par. After playing his front nine in 1-under par 35, Garnett charged through the back nine closing in 5-under par 30 to distance himself from a packed leaderboard. With the win in Portland Garnett clinches the number one spot on the regular season money list and will play a full PGA TOUR schedule next season. The win marked Garnett’s second victory in the past two months.
The trio of David Skinns, Ben Silverman and and Sam Ryder each posted 14-under totals as Garnett made the turn at 13-under for the tournament. After birdies on the 11th and 13th holes, Garnett closed the door by carding birdies on three of his final four holes, including a 15-foot birdie putt on the closing hole that drew a roar from the Portland crowd.
“I had a good game plan all week to just pound the greens” said Garnett. “Coming down the stretch I hit some really good shoots, made some really good putts and it was really sweet to roll that last one in.” When asked about his takeaways from the week Garnett replied, “I fell in love with Portland, fell in love with the golf course and this is a special place to get my second win.”
The dramatic conclusion of the chase for 25 PGA TOUR cards came down to Roberto Diaz and Keith Mitchell who played alongside Garnett. With a birdie on the 18th hole Mitchell would clinch a spot in the top-25 knocking Diaz to the 26th position. After his birdie attempt slid by the right side of the hole it was Diaz who left Portland with the final PGA TOUR card.
Amongst the 25 who earned their PGA TOUR cards was hometown favorite Aaron Wise. After winning the 2016 NCAA Individual and team championships with the University of Oregon he returned to Oregon this week with the PGA TOUR in his sights. Beginning the day three shots off the lead Wise carded a 1-under par 70 that he capped with a birdie on the 18th hole.
“The fans were great all week and came out to support me and it’s pretty cool to be the Oregon kid that everyone is rooting for” said Wise when asked about the support in his return to Oregon. With his T-16 finish Wise secured the 18th position in ‘The 25.’
Below is the full list of players who earned their PGA TOUR cards this afternoon in Portland.
NCAA Champion and former University of Oregon star Aaron Wise shot 6-under par in the second round of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz, taking a three-stroke lead into the weekend.
Followed by a large group of fans donning green and yellow, Wise made five birdies and an eagle, backing up his 64 from yesterday with a 65, tied for the lowest score of the day. His nearest competitor is Eric Axley at 10-under par. Adam Schenk and Lanto Griffin both sit at 9-under par.
“I’ve still got a lot of golf to play, but it’s a great spot and it’s where I want to be,” said Wise about being in the lead. “I hope there’s a big crowd out there this weekend… [there’s] a vibe with everyone out there and it gets some juices going and just makes me want to play well.”
Aaron is the crowd favorite this week due to his local ties as a member of the 2016 NCAA Championship team for the University of Oregon. He also won the NCAA Individual Championship that same year in Eugene.
Former University of Texas star Beau Hossler, whose Longhorns finished runner-up to the Ducks in 2016, sits at T-18, 5-under par. He entered the week on the bubble at number 25 and looks to maintain his position in the Top-25 and secure his PGA TOUR card.
Round 3 of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz continues Saturday morning. Wise will play in the final pairing alongside Schenk. Tee times will be released this evening and available at pgatour.com.
For tickets and information about the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz CLICK HERE.
Former University of Oregon star and 2016 NCAA Champion Aaron Wise made eight birdies and an eagle en route to a 64 in Thursday’s opening round of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Wise shot 34 on the front nine and 30 on the back nine including an improbable eagle on the par-4, 13th hole when he holed his approach shot from the fairway. With a large crowd cheering him on throughout the round, Wise birdied the par-5 18th hole to join a tie for second place, one shot behind the leader Conrad Shindler.
“There’s a lot of people out here supporting me. It’s a great event and to start off well puts me in a good spot for the rest of the week,” said Wise. “This is an event that’s been on my radar for a long time and one that I’d really like to win.”
After winning the Air Capital Classic earlier this season, Wise entered the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the final event of the regular season, ranked 18th on the money list. With his PGA TOUR card secured, he looks to jump up in the rankings before the start of the Web.com Tour Finals.
Round 2 of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz continues Friday morning. Wise will tee off at 1:00PM on the 10th tee.
For tickets and information about the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz CLICK HERE.
Web.com Tour’s Regular-Season-ending event to remain at Pumpkin Ridge through 2020
The Web.com Tour and WinCo Foods announced today a three-year title sponsorship extension of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz through 2020. The event’s 2017 edition is set to begin on Thursday morning at the Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where 25 PGA TOUR cards for the 2017-18 season will be awarded following the conclusion of Sunday’s final round.
“We are excited to announce today’s extension of the WinCo Foods Portland Open,” said Web.com Tour President Dan Glod. “This tournament has established itself as one of the Web.com Tour’s premier events by creating a championship-caliber atmosphere on one of our best golf courses, while continuing to create a strong charitable footprint in the greater Portland area.”
Since 2014, the tournament has generated more than $4 million for local charities, including $1.25 million in 2016 alone, which set a record for charitable donations by a golf event in the state of Oregon. The tournament’s Nabisco Tickets for Charity program drives much of the success, allowing local charities to sell tickets to the tournament while keeping all of the proceeds.
“We are thrilled with WinCo Foods decision to extend our contract to run the “25 Card” WinCo Foods Portland Open for 3 more years at Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge,” said Jeff Sanders, Executive Vice-President, Lagardère Sports. “This is a big day for over 100 benefiting charities. In just four short years the event has generated over $4.3m for local non-profits while showcasing PGA TOUR golf for local fans to enjoy. This is exciting news for our great city.”
The extension announcement will keep the event at venerable Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club through 2020 as well. The club’s Witch Hollow Course has hosted several major tournaments over the last 25 years, including two U.S. Women’s Opens and the iconic 1996 U.S. Amateur, where Tiger Woods captured his last amateur title before turning professional just weeks later.
Over the last three years, the course has played host to some of the PGA TOUR’s rising stars, including recent PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas (2014), THE PLAYERS Championship winner Si-Woo Kim (2014-15) and two-time TOUR winner Daniel Berger (2014).
As the final event of the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season, the WinCo Foods Portland Open is the last tournament where players can secure one of 25 PGA TOUR cards awarded following the final round. An additional 25 cards are available through the four-event, season-ending Web.com Tour Finals, which begin next week in Columbus, Ohio.
Promoter Sanders’ team likely to keep the Pumpkin Ridge event and its charitable contributions going.
Now into his seventh decade foraging the universe, Jeff Sanders isn’t exactly inching toward retirement.
“I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been, in a good way,” says Sanders, 61, executive director for the Web.com Tour’s WinCo Foods Open, set for Aug. 24-27 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
Sanders is executive vice president for golf events in North America for Lagardere Sports and Entertainment, which has become increasingly active in promotion of golf events in the United States.
Since the former Sunset High, University of Oregon and PGA Tour golfer joined Lagardere in 2013, the company has added four PGA Tour events to its repertoire.
Sanders and Lagardere promote the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and the Safeway Open at Napa, California, and will soon take on the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta, California. In addition, they serve as consultants for the Dean and DeLuca Invitational at Fort Worth, Texas.
Lagardere also runs two-day celebrity charity events in Minneapolis and Scottsdale, Arizona, along with Web.com Tour stops in Portland and Boise.
“I’m proud of our (promotional) team,” Sanders says. “We had to step up and grow. Any time anyone acquires a company, they do it to grow. It was a challenge for us. I believe I have the best team in this industry.”
Sanders promotes two of the most important events on the Web.com Tour, the secondary PGA Tour featuring the “next best” 156 players.
The $800,000 WinCo Foods Open is the last of 22 regular events on the Web.com Tour, with PGA Tour cards riding on finishing the week in the top 25 spots on the money list.
The $1 million Albertsons Boise Open, coming up on its 28th year, is one of the four major tournaments that end the Web.com Tour season.
There’s no question that the WinCo Foods Open, now in its fourth year, features tremendous golfers. Those who have participated in the first three WinCo Foods Open events have gone on to claim 22 PGA Tour tournament championships. That includes Justin Thomas, who has won three PGA Tour events this year and ranks fourth on the money list with more than $5.1 million in earnings.
This year’s WinCo Foods Open features a local angle — Aaron Wise, who led Oregon to the 2016 NCAA championship. Wise won the Air Capital Classic at Wichita, Kansas, in June and ranks 13th on the Web.com Tour money list with $187,122 in 11 tournaments. He seems assured of gaining one of the 25 PGA Tour cards that will be handed out after the Winco Foods Open.
Sanders provided Wise with a sponsors exemption at the Safeway Open last October and spent time in his gallery at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.
“When he’s on, he appears to be the real deal,” Sanders says. “He hits it high and hard and can shoot real low. That’s what separates him. He can put a 61 or 62 up, and you have to be able to do that to win out on the tour now.
“Aaron is a real strong player. I was impressed with his driving and his putting. He plays with no fear. The NCAA win at Eugene Country Club gave him the confidence he needed. He looks like he’s ready to play with the big guys now.”
How will Wise fare on Pumpkin Ridge’s Witch Hollow layout?
“He’s going to be tough,” Sanders says. “It helps to hit the ball high in there. The greens get firm and fast, and hitting the ball high helps.
“Hitting it long helps on a few holes, too. When Tiger Woods won the U.S. Amateur at Pumpkin (in 1996), he turned the par-5s into par-4s by cutting corners with his driver. Aaron has that kind of length.”
Sanders is proud of the charitable contributions his tournaments provide. A year ago, the WinCo Foods Open raised $1.25 million for a variety of charities. He expects the figure to be in the same range this year. Lagardere’s seven events will account for more than $8 million charitable contributions this year.
“That’s our scorecard,” Sanders says. “The companies we work for, that’s what they care about the most. It’s been a rewarding year for us.”
Word is WinCo Foods is prepared to sign a contract with Lagardere that will extend the tournament for three more seasons at Pumpkin Ridge. Sanders wouldn’t confirm it, but says things are moving in a positive direction.
“When we started this event four years ago, we were most excited about having the 25 PGA Tour cards, making it meaningful to the pros and playing at a championship-level venue,” Sanders says. “We love the course. We love the date. We love the spotlight for Portland. With all these guys playing for their livelihood, it’s real dramatic.
“Secondly, we wanted to give more money to charity than any golf event ever staged in Portland. We’ve hit that goal. We’ve had some great golf events in Oregon over the years, so from a charity standpoint, it’s been fun to lead the league.”
In the 1990s, when the secondary tour began as the Ben Hogan Tour, Sanders eyed four potential cities in which to promote an event — Sacramento, Tacoma, Boise and Portland.
“Boise was right at the time, because it was the smallest of the four cities, and a good fit,” Sanders says.
Now, four name changes later, Portland is “the perfect size” for the Ben Hogan/Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide/Web.com Tour, Sanders says.
“It was too big back then,” he says, “but not anymore.”
The WinCo Foods Open is one of the best bargains on the Portland sports fan’s calendar. A daily ticket is $10. A weekly pass costs $25. Children are free. Parking is free. A free breakfast is provided for all starting at 9 a.m. on the final day.
And, a free junior clinic, sponsored by Nike and put on by participating Web.com Tour pros, is set for Wednesday.
During the tournament, fans can suds up at the Kraft Brew Garden alongside the par-3 No. 12. A contest offers a lucky fan a new Honda auto if the fan’s player notches a hole-in-one. There are plenty of hospitality and public-viewing suites alongside the 18th hole.
It’s good entertainment at very little cost. I’m all for that. I’m betting you are, too.
Aaron Wise, a former Oregon Ducks standout, shot a 2-under 68 to close out the win at the Air Capital Classic, a Web.Com Tour event in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday.With the win, Wise earned $112,500, picked up a cool propeller trophy — and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2017-2018 season.
Wise, who turns 21 on Wednesday, finished the week 21-under-par 259.
Oregon fans may remember that Wise won the individual title at the 2016 NCAA Championship and led the Ducks men’s golf team to their first team championship.
Since then, the Cape Town, South Africa native’s path to the PGA Tour has been gaining momentum. He won his first tournament as a professional last July and has progressed from the Mackenzie Tour (known as the PGA Tour Canada) to the Web.Com Tour.
Wise is scheduled to play in the WinCo Foods Portland Open on August 24-27 at Witch Hollow Golf Course at Pumpkin Ridge.
By Molly Blue