South Africa’s van Rooyen sets record on way to Barracuda win
For the second consecutive year, Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood was host to some of the top golfers from around the globe as the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship teed off for four days of competition.
The tour’s longest active streak of first-time tournament winners stretched to six straight years behind a record-setting performance by Erik van Rooyen.
“I hadn’t won on the PGA Tour yet,” said van Rooyen “It’s such a massive goal. All those things can go through your mind. Obviously, being 139 on the FedExCup list, that’s on my mind. All of that.
The 31-year-old South African fired a 50 using the Modified Stableford scoring format to set a record high score for the only stop on tour using the scoring system. The previous record for Modified Stableford scoring was 49, set at the 2014 Barracuda Championship by Geoff Ogilvy.
“It almost lends itself for slightly more aggressive play,” said van Rooyen. “The golf course is such where it’s got a couple short par-4s as well and par-5s are all gettable. Making eagles is massive.”
Van Rooyen finished Sunday’s final 18 holes with the fourth best round, scoring 16 points to take the win over former champion and this year’s runner-up, Andrew Putnam, by five points.
“I mean, it was a dream start — birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, and then just kind of hit the brakes and stalled out a bit,” said Putnam. “And just didn’t get it to happen those last few holes.”
Van Rooyen caught fire to close out the front nine with an eagle on the par-4 eighth hole before sinking birdie on the par-4 ninth hole.
“I just stayed so patient. I saw that Andrew Putnam got off to a really, really quick start. He was 45 points pretty early on. And there’s really nothing I could do about that. I’ve got to put one foot in front of the next. And I did that.
“And then the eagle on 8 was just a massive boost,” van Rooyen added. “Then the one on 9 to go in as well. And you’ve got so much momentum going into the back nine.”
Van Rooyen would knock in three more birdies on the back nine, including on hole 18 to close out the tournament. He takes home $630,000 of a $3.5 million purse, and earns a two-year tour exemption.
Through four smoky, hot days, the par-71, 7,425-yard Old Greenwood course proved no easy task with 18% of the total rounds played coming in at par or worse.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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