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Piercy Survives in Reno
Though it wasn't easy, Scott Piercy managed to pull through on the 72nd hole of the Reno-Tahoe Open to nail down his first victory on the PGA Tour.
Besides earning $540,000 and 250 FedEx Cup points, the win meant the 32-year-old from Las Vegas will have to change plans as his 15-under 273 finish means a trip to this week's PGA Championship in Atlanta.
Standing on the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead over Pat Perez, Piercy pushed his drive on the 616-yard, par-5 closer at Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno. His ball stopped on a cart path, from where he punched back into the fairway and hit his third 20 feet below the cup.
Then, things got tense as Piercy's birdie attempt raced seven feet past the hole and jeopardized a winning par.
Perhaps fatefully, Piercy rolled his ball into the hole, allowing the former mini-tour regular to break his maiden with a final round, 2-under 70 and a 15-under 273 total, one better than Perez.
Piercy's first win was greatly aided after a course-record 11-under 61 on Saturday, which gave him a two-stroke lead heading into the final round. But that didn't matter until that final putt dropped.
"I'm so excited," Piercy said at greenside after his wife and kids rushed to greet him in celebration. "Having to two-putt is not easy."
When asked about the PGA Championship, the clearly stunned Piercy muttered, "We have vacation plans next week. I have to cancel."
Perez had his chances, but the Phoenix native who started Sunday three behind Piercy, stumbled down the stretch. After three birdies on the front nine and then two more on Nos. 12 and 13 to get into contention, Perez carded three pars before coming to the par-4 17th, where he lost any chance of catching Piercy by bogeying.
A par on the final hole - where he needed a birdie to pressure Piercy - sealed the fate of Perez, a noted hothead who was caught by TV cameras disgustedly stomping - while slamming his golf glove and other items on the ground - past kids asking for autographs behind the 18th green. Perez, a 35-year-old one-time winner on the PGA Tour, had a 68 and tallied a total of 14-under 274.
Steve Flesch (68) and Blake Adams (69) shared third at 275, while Jim Renner rallied for a 68 and solo fifth at 276. Four players, including former PGA champion Steve Elkington (71) and first-round leader Nick O'Hern (71) were T6 at 277.