‘Nice to finally get the win:’ Werenski makes good on 100th start, captures first PGA victory
In his 100th PGA Tour start, Richy Werenski finally tasted victory.
Werenski closed Sunday’s final round at the Barracuda Championship at Old Greenwood Golf Course with 13 points under the modified Stableford scoring format to edge Troy Merritt by one point with a total score of 39.
“I guess I’m still kind of shocked. It just happened so fast, making eagle on 16,” said Werenski, who claimed $630,000 of the $3.5 million purse. “I knew where the leader was, but right after I made that eagle we started doing the math, and I was like, we’re kind of right back in this thing. It was pretty crazy, but I’m super excited about it. Been playing well the last couple weeks and months, so it’s nice to finally get the win.”
Werenski knocked in an eagle on the par-4 16th hole, sinking a chip shot from off the green. He then went on to finish the par-71, 7,390-yard course by sinking a birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole, recovering for positive points after his drive went into the trees.
“I’m standing on 12 tee and I knew I wasn’t playing great. I wasn’t having like the best day. I didn’t feel like I was really swinging that well. After I kind of lipped out and hit the low edge on 12 for eagle, I was like, darn it, because that would have been big,” said Werenski.
“But I was kind of like, all right, let’s just go make as many birdies as we can and we’ll just see what happens. Like I said, I wasn’t really thinking about winning at that time, but it was funny because we were standing in the fairway on 16, and I was like, well, how about we just make it, and it ended up going in, so I guess that’s kind of funny.”
Werenski nearly won the Barracuda Championship in 2017, but was defeated in a three-way playoff. He’s also the fifth straight player to earn his first PGA Tour win at the Barracuda Championship. The win gets Werenski into the U.S. Open, The Players Championship next year along with Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“Yeah, it’s awesome,” added Werenski, who now sits at No. 34 in the FedExCup standings. “I’ve played two or three majors in my career, and to be able to play the PGA and U.S. Open again, it’s just incredible. There’s nothing like it. Super excited about that. And obviously Tournament of Champions, never played there, so it’s going to be really cool.”
The leader entering Sunday’s final round, Troy Merritt, went scoreless on his back nine on the way to a tournament total of 38 points. Merritt, who finishes runner-up after holding the 54-hole lead/co-lead for the second consecutive year, still earned a spot into the U.S. Open.
“We knew what we had to do,” said Merritt. “Hit a lot of quality shots today, hit a lot of greens, just couldn’t find that one birdie on the back side.”
Argentina’s Fabian Gomez finished in a tie for third place after scoring 16 points Sunday to close the tournament with 37 points.
“The putter the first two days wasn’t that hot like today, but today before the round I felt something on the putter, so I got a lot of confidence, so I putted really well today,” said Gomez.
Austria’s Matthias Schwab also finished with 37 points following a final 13-point round.
“I think I got off to a bad start, made bogey on the 1st hole, but got it right back on the 2nd hole and I just kind of hung around, made a few birdies and then really got the round going on 12 with an eagle hole-out from the bunker, which was great, and then another birdie on 14,” said Schwab, who will make his first major appearance next week at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. “Unfortunately, yeah, towards the end the putts didn’t want to go in anymore.”
PLAYER POSITIVE FOR COVID
This year’s field at the Barracuda Championship included 132 PGA Tour players. One player, South Africa’s Branden Grace, who was sitting in second place going into the Saturday’s third round, was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19 that morning.
“Sadly I have tested positive for COVID-19 this morning,” said Grace in a post to his Twitter account. “After having cold-like symptoms last night in my hotel room, I called the tour and went in for testing first thing this morning. Given my position on the leaderboard, it was a difficult decision, but nonetheless, the correct one for my fellow competitors & volunteers. I will be self isolating in my RV, according to the CDC guidelines until my next test. Stay safe out there and hopefully see you all back on the course again soon.”
Grace will no longer play in next week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.
The PGA Championship gets underway this week and will be broadcast by ESPN and CBS.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.
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