Former Norcal star Bettencourt gets Nationwide win
22 Sep 2008

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. (Sept. 21, 2008) -- Matt Bettencourt fired a final-round 69 Sunday to win the Oregon Classic for his first career title. Bettencourt, the 54-hole leader, posted a tournament-record 19-under 269 total, good for a two-stroke win at Shadow Hills Country Club. Former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson (68) finished second while Spencer Levin (68) was third, three back.

"This will take a while to settle in," said Bettencourt. "It's what you dream about when you're a little kid. It's awesome. You dream about it but you don't know how you're going to react. I'm on cloud nine."

The 33-year old California native earned $90,000, which moved him from No. 53 to No. 19 on the Nationwide Tour money list with only four events remaining on the 2008 schedule. THE 25 top money-winners at the end of the year will earn their PGA TOUR cards for 2009.

"There are so many great golfers at all levels," said Bettencourt, who finished fifth a week ago at the Albertsons Boise Open. "I'm as confident as I've ever been right now but there is so much of this year left to go. We've got four good tournaments left and I'm hoping a couple more top-10s and I'll be closer to securing my spot for next year."

It was a rollercoaster day for Bettencourt, who held a three-stroke advantage over Dickerson. Three birdies in his first seven holes upped the margin to four before a Dickerson birdie at No. 9 closed it to two.

"We both made some great putts on the front nine," he said. "It felt like match-play there for a little while."

Bettencourt responded with three birdies on the first four holes of the back nine to reach 21-under par and upped his lead to five.

"I told myself that no matter what Bubba did, just to stay patient," said Bettencourt. "I knew he'd play well and make a run. He's such a great player."

Bettencourt's bogey at No. 14 shaved the lead to four as the final pair reached the par-5, 15th hole. Bettencourt's second shot on the dogleg right hit an overhanging tree and bounced into a flower bed.

"I knew I had to advance the ball and the only direction I could go was towards the 16th tee," he said. "All I could do was to chip out. I just wanted to minimize the damage at that point and I was just trying to make bogey."

While he was doing that, Dickerson smoked a 5-iron from 210 yards to 25 feet and canned the putt for an eagle, cutting the margin to one.

"I figured anything could happen those last three holes," said Dickerson, who collected $54,000 and jumped from No. 47 to No. 26 on the money list.

Dickerson saved par from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker at No. 16 but three-putted from the fringe at No. 17, giving Bettencourt a two-shot edge heading to the par-5, 18th.

Bettencourt played conservatively, wedging his third to the middle of the green, 20 feet away. Dickerson's eagle-chip from the front of the green slid past the cup and he settled for par, leaving Bettencourt plenty of breathing room for his final margin of victory.

Fourth-Round News & Notes: Geoffrey Sisk withdrew during the round due to illness...Sunday's scoring average was 70.476. The scoring average for the week was 71.311...Bradley Iles shot a final-round 66 to finish at 15-under 273. Iles tied for fourth this week, his career-best effort on Tour. Iles' previous best was a T8 at the Price Cutter Charity Championship...Spencer Levin moved inside THE 25 with his tie for third this week. Levin finished third and is now No. 22 on the money list.

-- story courtesty www.pgatour.com

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