Mediate rides eagles to badly needed win
Prugh’s tie for second his fourth top-10 finish
SAN MARTIN, Calif. – The familiar chants of “Rocco! Rocco!” never sounded better or louder as he approached the 18th hole.
Rocco Mediate holed out for eagle for the fourth straight day, hitting a pitching wedge from 116 yards that spun back into the cup on the par-4 17th hole Sunday en route to a one-stroke victory over Bo Van Pelt and rookie Alex Prugh of Spokane in the Frys.com Open.
“Do you believe what just happened out there?” Mediate said. “I have a job again.”
The 47-year-old Mediate won his sixth PGA Tour title and first since 2002, finishing with a 2-over 73 for a 15-under 269 total at CordeValle. He earned $900,000 and a two-year tour exemption.
Mediate had a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole Thursday, holed out from 160 yards Friday on the par-4 fourth, and holed out from 111 yards Saturday on the par-5 15th hole.
Prugh shot a 69, and Van Pelt closed with a 71.
Prugh and Van Pelt each birdied the final hole, giving Mediate exactly what he wanted on his final shot – a 4- or 5-foot putt that mattered.
As Mediate and caddie Matthew Achatz looked at the shot, they both saw it the same way.
“He said, ‘It’s dead straight, knock it in,’ ” Mediate said. “I nodded and said, ‘OK.’ ”
Mediate said he never saw the ball go into the hole. He turned, flipped his putter and embraced Achatz before shaking hands with Prugh and Van Pelt.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Mediate said. “Over the past three weeks everything was coming along and I was putting better. Last week I was pretty solid all four rounds and this week went bonkers.”
Mediate built his lead through three days of warmth and sunshine, allowing his cranky back to stay loose. That all changed Sunday with a steady rain and cold through most of the day as he shot a 5 over through 13 holes, and lost the lead temporarily on the 15th hole.
“The weather was tough on everybody,” he said. “I don’t do well with the cool and damp stuff. It was hard for me to move. My back wasn’t sore but it was stiff. I couldn’t hit it where I was looking.”
The sun poked through as he began play on the 14th hole and his fortunes turned.
Mediate made an 181/2-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, then regained the lead on the 17th.
Prugh, who had his first top-10 finish since opening the season with top 10s in three of his first four events, came within 2 feet of a hole-in-one on the 17th.
“I had Alex mark his ball because you just never know,” Mediate said. “I was going for it, thinking I wanted a birdie. Then I made a shot Mr. (Lee) Trevino taught me.”
That’s when fans began chanting as they followed him to the 18th tee.
“I had signed up for tour school,” Mediate said. “That’s where I belonged until a half-hour ago.”
Spain’s Beatriz Recari won the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge at Danville, Calif., for her first LPGA Tour title, overcoming soggy conditions and a late bogey for a one-stroke victory over France’s Gwladys Nocera.
The 23-year-old Recari, a tour rookie who made cuts in only three of her first 13 stroke-play events this season, rebounded from a bogey on the No. 17 with a par on the 18th for a 2-under 70 and a 14-under 274 total on the Blackhawk Country Club course. Nocera birdied the final hole for a 70 and 275.
Michele Redman (76) and Karine Icher (70) tied for third at 12 under.
Cristie Kerr missed a chance to overtake Ai Miyazato for the No. 1 ranking, closing with a 70 to tie for fifth with Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., (72) at 11 under. Kerr needed to at least tie for third to take the top spot.
Australia’s Richard Green won the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, closing with a 7-under 65 for a two-stroke win over four players at Oceanico Victoria.
The left-hander finished at 18-under. Italy’s Francesco Molinari (62), Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (67), Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (68) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (69) tied for second. Third-round leader Pablo Martin shot a 75 to tie for fifth at 15 under.