Monday, July 04, 2016

 Aussie Greg Chalmers' first US Tour win

 gives him an Open place

Greg Chalmers earned an Open qualifying exemption when he secured his maiden US PGA Tour win at the Barracuda Championship in Reno on Sunday.
The 42-year-old Australian scored a six-point victory in his 386th Tour start when he closed with an eagle in the modified Stableford tournament.
Champion: Greg Chalmers poses with the trophy after winning the Barracuda Championship. Champion: Greg Chalmers poses with the trophy after winning the Barracuda Championship. Photo: Todd Warshaw
A shaky Chalmers carded a four-point final round for a 43-point total to emerge victorious over American Gary Woodland at the Montreux Golf layout.
Colt Knost finished alone in third place on 35 points, one ahead of his American compatriot Tim Herron.
Woodland, playing in the group ahead of Chalmers, was the only player to mount a serious challenge but a messy three-putt bogey on the par-five 18th gave the Australian some breathing room after he had dropped a shot on the penultimate hole.
Chalmers initially thought Woodland had finished with a birdie but after the Australian hit a fairway-splitting drive, his caddie informed him of the American's unfortunate finish.
A relieved Chalmers then struck a sumptuous 230-yard approach to nine feet below the cup and sealed his triumph by draining the eagle putt.
"I thought I was in trouble," Chalmers said. "I thought Gary birdied the last hole and then I crushed the driver. The best shot, the only good shot I hit all day."
Chalmers' victory was his first since he claimed a second Australian PGA Championship title in December 2014. He has also won two Australian Opens.
"In golf you always have to think something good is around the corner," said Chalmers, who credited a new driver for his improved form.
"I thought my game was close. Today was a battle but the first three rounds I played really well."
The format awards eight points for an albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, and subtracts a point for bogey and three for double-bogey or worse.
As well as receiving a two-year exemption on the US PGA Tour, the victory will also allow Chalmers to tee up at the Open at Royal Troon, starting on July 14.
"It was certainly on my mind going into today’s round. I’ve only played in three Opens so it’s always new and exciting for me,” he said.
“I’m hoping to take my whole family and som friends over to Scotland. I played St Andrews last year, so I know the Open  is huge.”
The qualifying place in The Open had originally been on offer at the Greenbrier Classic, but devastating flooding in West Virginia resulted in the cancellation of the event and the place being moved to the Barracuda Championship.
“The Open is always exciting, I can’t wait. It's such a great thing that The R and A and Barracuda have done for us, even though the circumstances that came about weren't the greatest,” said Chalmers.
The Open Qualifying Series continues this week with the final four places at Royal Troon available at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart from Thursday to Sunday.



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