PEBBLE BEACH (Nov 21, 2010) -- John Mallinger will head to the upcoming PGA Tour Q-School Finals with a victory at world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links in tow.
Mallinger, who finished at No. 133 on this year's PGA Tour money list, birdied four of his final six holes Sunday, including the 18th, shooting a 4-under 68, to hold off a hard-charging Jason Gore and win the 39th annual Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.
Soquel native Nate Smith closed with a final-round 74 to finish tied for 16th at 13 strokes back. Harbor High graduate Juli Inkster finished tied for 27th at 17 back after shooting 74 on Sunday. Santa Cruz native Isaac Weintraub finished with a 78 to finish 24 back.
The 31-year-old Mallinger, who only entered the tournament on Monday, finished with a four-day total of 15-under 273 70-65-70-68. Gore, who's also headed to the Q-School Finals after finishing 40th on this year's Nationwide Tour money list, shot a final round 65 to finish at 275, two behind Mallinger.
"I've been playing well the last 4-5 weeks. This is another confidence boost heading to the Finals stage," said Mallinger, whose day included eight birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey. "I love this place. It's tough to beat Pebble Beach. I'm glad I came out."
For Mallinger, who hadn't tasted victory since he won on the Hooters Tour in 2005, the difference maker was his birdie run late on the back-nine.
Following a birdie on No. 13, Mallinger on No. 15 hit a wayward drive but recovered by sticking a 7-iron approach to within two feet of the pin. On No. 16, he sank an 18-foot putt.
The kicker came on the historic 18th when, with Gore already in at 13-under and only a stroke behind, Mallinger squashed a potential playoff by draining a 25-footer for birdie.
"I putted really well all week," said Mallinger, whose resume include two third place 2007, 2008 finishes in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. "On 18, I smoothed an 8-iron in there and was able to make the putt."
Earlier, following a bogey on 10th hole, Mallinger had trailed Champions Tour member Russ Cochran, who began the day a stroke behind and was looking to become the first Champions Tour player to ever win the tournament, by one.
"When I got behind I knew I still had eight holes left," said Mallinger, who finished tied for 22nd in this year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. "I just told myself to be patient and focused on my own game."
While Cochran, the 2009 Champions Tour Rookie of the Year, would fade to a tie for third with PGA Tour member Pat Perez after bogeys on No.13 and No.16 en route to a 71, Gore had kept the pressure on with a birdie on the tough 14th and another birdie on No.18.
"I tried. I hit a bunch of greens and played well, and will take that momentum to Q-School. I just got outplayed," said Gore, whose 65 tied Perez for low round of the day. "It's about time he Mallinger won something here. He loves this place."
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Morgan Pressel, who started the day four behind Mallinger and played in a unique three-tour final threesome with Mallinger and Cochran, shot a 72 to finish at 281, the lowest total of 13 LPGA entrants.
Legend Annika Sorenstam, playing in her first 72-hole event in two years, shot a final round 73 to finish tied for 12th at 285, 12 strokes behind Mallinger.
Stevenson alum Nathan Smith, who's also headed to the Q-School Finals Dec. 1-6 at Orange County National Golf Center in Florida, had a 74 for a total of 286. Monterey native and LPGA rookie Mina Harigae, whose next stop is the LPGA Championship, also had a 74 to finish at 288.
View results for TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational Golf Tournament