Fowler loses Nationwide Tour playoff
03 Aug 2009
by AmateurGolf.com Staff


COLUMBUS, Ohio. -- Derek Lamely rolled in a three-foot par putt on the second playoff hole Sunday to defeat Oklahoma State standout Rickie Fowler and win the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.

Lamely posted a 6-under-par 65 during the final round at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course and finished at 11-under 273, nearly an hour in front of the final groups. Fowler, who had owned the lead during much of the last day, dropped into a playoff when he suffered a bogey on the 72nd hole of regulation.

The two parred the first extra hole, missing birdie putts of 18-20 feet from virtually the same line and then headed to the 164-yard, 13th hole. Fowler's tee shot found a front bunker while Lamely missed long and left in the heavy rough. The winner's delicate downhill wedge from a gnarly lie stopped three feet from the cup.

"A year ago I might not have even gotten that one on the green," said Lamely, who was originally scheduled to go to Texas to work with a manufacturer this week on, of all things, his wedges. "I might have gotten it on the green but it definitely wouldn't have been three feet."

Fowler blasted his second shot 12 feet past the hole and his par attempt slid over the right corner of the cup. That left it up to Lamely, a 29-year-old rookie from Florida, to tap in for the win.

"My goal is still the same," said Lamely, who collected $139,500 to jump from No. 135 to No. 12 on the money list. "The goal still is to get on the big Tour. It's the same goal I've had forever. I just helped myself significantly today."

Tom Gillis (71), Gavin Coles (74) and third-round leader Dave Schultz (77) shared third place, four strokes back. Blake Adams (68) and Steve Wheatcroft (71) tied for sixth, five behind.

Schultz began the final day with a three-stroke lead over Coles and five in front of Fowler. Lamely, at 5-under, was a distant eight shots behind when he went to the first tee.

"Obviously I needed some help, starting as far back as I did. The best part of the day was when we got to the course. The wind was already blowing so I thought I had a chance," said Lamely, who grew up in Lake Conroe, Texas, where the wind blows on a regular basis. "I knew I had to go out and play well obviously. I went out and hit a lot of really good golf shots. I drove it better today than I have all week and I took advantage of that."

Lamely started with six consecutive pars before moving steadily, and almost unnoticed, up the leaderboard.

"There were still a lot of holes that you can do really well on and there's a lot of holes you can really mess up," said Lamely. "I had seen that the leaders had already come back a little bit, so in my mind I was telling myself I had already moved up a couple of strokes."

Two birdies to close the front nine put him at 7-under but still well behind Fowler, who reached 11-under with birdies at Nos. 4, 6 and 8.

"With the way the conditions were, holding the lead, I assumed 10-under would be a good number finishing the day," said Lamely, who was making only his 10th career start on Tour, and the eighth this season. "My goal was to get to 10 (under). Then I got there and saw the lead was 11 (under) so I thought I had to keep making birdies."

Fowler, meantime, got to 12-under with a birdie at No. 12 and was on track to join 2007 tournament winner Daniel Summerhays as the only amateurs to win a title in the Tour's 20-year history.

While Lamely and Fowler were moving forward, Schultz was stumbling out of the blocks and dropped five shots to par in his first eight holes.

"Nothing went right," said Schultz. "I got behind the 8-ball early and it just snowballed on me. I couldn't do anything right even by accident. I played nothing like I did the first three days. It's tough. I could have won, I should have won. I just screwed up today, there's no other way to say it."

Fowler looked solid until he reached the final hole, a 439-yard dogleg right. His second shot trickled over the back of the green and his third wound up about 18 feet away.

"I hit some really good putts there at the end and they just didn't go in," said Fowler, whose next stop is the U.S. Amateur. "I was giving myself good looks all day. I struggled a little bit coming in and thought I hit some good shots there on 18."


Final-Round Notes

• Lamely's eight-shot comeback today is the largest on Tour this year and the biggest since Jim Rutledge came from nine shots back at the 2006 ING New Zealand PGA Championship.

• Lamely becomes the third first-time winner in the tournament's three-year history.

• Lamely also becomes the Tour's eighth first-time winner in 2009.

• Today's playoff was the eighth on Tour this season and the third to require two holes. None of the eight overtime sessions in 2009 have lasted more than two holes.

• Derek Lamely's 65 today matched the Scarlet Course record, set by Dave Schultz during Saturday's third round.

• Sunday's final-round scoring average was 71.758. The scoring average for the week was 71.743.

• Morgan Hoffman of Oklahoma State, winner of the Phil Mickelson Award at the top Division I male golfer, finished at 5-under 279 and tied for eighth place. Other amateur finishers were Nick Taylor of Washington (T34) and Bo Hoag of Ohio State (61st).

• The Tour moves to Kansas next week for the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open at Crestview Country Club, Aug. 3-9.

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