SMI News - Uresti Wins Livermore Valley Wine Championship!
Apr. 1, 2007
By John Bush
PGA TOUR Staff
LIVERMORE, Calif. -- In what will be remembered as one of the toughest tournaments in Nationwide Tour history, Omar Uresti was the last man standing at the $625,000 Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship.
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS OMAR URESTI'S FINAL STATS|
|Driving Distance||304.8 yds.||30|
|Greens in Regulation||66.7%||T15|
|Putts per Round||29.5||T9|
|Putts per GIR||1.875||31|
With an even-par 288 finish -- two strokes in front of Skip Kendall (74) and Aron Price (73) -- Uresti becomes just the second player in Tour history to win with a score of even-par or higher. Roger Salazar was the first to do so, winning the 1991 South Texas Open at 3 over par.
"I guess playing in six U.S. Opens taught me how to be patient," said Uresti, a 38-year-old native of Austin, Texas. "Playing in a U.S. Open is not much fun ... but I guess I've got something to thank them for."
After beginning the day with a four-shot cushion, Uresti (76) stumbled early with bogeys on three of the first seven holes, but quickly steadied the ship, finishing with 10 straight pars before a double bogey on the par-4 finishing hole.
"After making bogey on two of the first three holes it was like, 'Now you've got to play some golf,'" said Uresti, who finished the day hitting 11 of 14 fairways. "I hit so many shots and executed just like I wanted ... it got frustrating because they kept rolling off the green."
Uresti's victory shares uncanny similarities to Kendall's win at last week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which came a Tour-record 12 years, eight months and 27 days since his last win at the 1994 Carolina Classic. Uresti topped that mark on Sunday, with 12 years, 11 months and eight days having elapsed since his victory at the 1994 Shreveport Open.
Along that same line, Uresti's victory snapped a string of 383 starts (277 PGA TOUR and 106 Nationwide Tour starts) since his last foray into the winner's circle in a PGA TOUR-sponsored event, while Kendall's win snapped a streak of 384 starts since his last victory.
"Has it been that long?" asked Uresti. "You start wondering if you'll do it again. But I was able to win on the Canadian Tour a couple of years ago. I also finished tied for third last year at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. So I had something to draw from."
Sunday's victory -- worth $112,500 -- moves Uresti into second place on the money list and on course to return to the PGA TOUR after the disappointment of barely missing out on his TOUR card with a 134th place finish on the 2006 money list. Both Tours will have to wait in the meantime, as Uresti is scheduled to take a couple of weeks off as he and wife, Anita, are expecting their second child on April 17.
"I missed the first one by seven hours traveling from Reno to Toronto," said Uresti, referring to the 2004 birth of Omar Jr. in the Canadian city. "I'm going to try and be there for this one."
Fast, firm and windy conditions at the picturesque Course at Wente Vineyards this week resulted in the cumulative scoring average soaring to 75.235 -- the highest on Tour since a 75.421 average at the 2002 Monterey Peninsula Classic (Bayonet Course). Should that average hold the remainder of the season, it would represent the second straight year the course has ranked as the Tour's toughest layout.
Several players contended during the final round, but eventually failed in their attempt. Kendall appeared poised to become the first player since Jason Gore in 2005 to win in back-to-back weeks, but bogeys on two of the final three holes derailed his hopes. Likewise, Arjun Atwal had moved within one of Uresti's lead at one point, but a bogey-double bogey finish relegated him to a tie for sixth-place finish. A couple of Australians had hopes of winning on the Greg Norman-designed course, but Price struggled to a 3-over 39 on his final nine holes to finish two back, while Jason Day struggled to an 8-over 80 to finish out of the top 25.
"I was fortunate to win," said Uresti. "I was also fortunate that everyone else struggled today."
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