Guthrie Claims First Professional Title at Web.com Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open
By Stewart Moore
Boise, ID – At the Web.com Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft, 2012 eGolf Tour player Luke Guthrie of Quincy, IL posted rounds of 64-71-62-65—262 to win his first tour title in runaway fashion, while solidifying his PGA TOUR card for the 2013 season.
Since turning professional in June following the conclusion of a successful college campaign at the University of Illinois, Guthrie has played brilliantly, posting three top-25 finishes on the PGA TOUR and three top-3 finishes on the Web.com Tour – including Sunday’s win. The former Illini great finished T4 at the eGolf Tour’s Spring Creek Classic in June, finishing eight shots shy of winner Seamus Power.
In Boise, Guthrie vaulted himself into tournament contention with a third-round, 9-under 62 that pushed him up into a tie for second at 16-under 197 through three rounds of play. The newcomer’s 54-hole tally left him two shots back of overnight leader Michael Putnam, who stood at 18-under with just 18 holes left to play.
A bogey-birdie-par start for Putnam allowed Guthrie to claim the tournament lead early on with a birdie at the par-5 second and an eagle at the par-5 third to move to 19-under. A conservative-yet-still-aggressive frame of mind allowed Guthrie to take control of the event from that point forward.
"Pick a conservative target but make sure you play aggressively to it," he said. "I played smart. Attack the easy holes and hunker down and make solid pars."
A birdie at the par-4 sixth offset a bogey at the par-3 fourth, and when Guthrie made the turn, he held a two-shot advantage with just nine holes to play at scenic Hillcrest Country Club.
At the par-4 10th, Guthrie notched yet another birdie to extend his lead to three, but felt as though he had little time to take his foot off the gas while chasing down his maiden Web.com Tour victory.
"I knew it was going to be a shootout today," said Guthrie. "It was so bunched at the top and if you're going out there trying to protect something you're not going to do too good."
The birdie at 10 gave way to a four-hole stretch of pars which ended with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 – a double that moved the soon-to-be winner to 22-under for the week and in clear control of the tournament.
A par at the par-3 17th gave Guthrie a four-shot cushion heading to the par-4 18th, and the opportunity to enjoy the moment as opposed to stressing over what would become a life-changing win.
"I got to enjoy the walk up 18," he said. "I was just enjoying the moment and taking everything in."
With a two-putt par from 15 feet, the three-month touring professional had sewn up a final-round 65, his first Web.com Tour victory, and the winner’s check for $130,500. The latter of the three took Guthrie from No. 22 to No. 4 on the tour’s money list with earnings of $283,463 – all in just six starts.
"It was awesome," said Guthrie of his day. "I know it probably hasn't sunk in yet. I couldn't be more proud of how I played."
The win locked up Guthrie’s 2013 PGA TOUR card – awarded annually to the Web.com Tour’s top 25 players on the season-ending money list. It also helped to validate a torrid start to his professional career, which saw him earn a T5 finish at the PGA TOUR’s John Deer Classic, a playoff loss at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational and a T3 effort at the Cox Classic the following week.
"One of my main goals today was just to have fun," he said. "I kind of shot myself in the foot a few times just being too uptight and wanting it too bad and worrying about where this might put me on the money list. That's all kind of irrelevant once you tee it up."
Former eGolf Tour winner Billy Horschel posted rounds of 68-65-67-68—268 to finish T7 on the week at 16-under par, six shots back of Guthrie.
The former Florida Gator star, who has conditional PGA TOUR status this year, has now made seven starts on the Web.com Tour, posting two top-10s – the T7 in Boise, and a T4 earlier this year at the Stadion Classic at UGA.
Horschel has 14 starts under his belt thus far on the 2012 PGA TOUR, with 12 made cuts and a career-best third-place finish at the True South Classic in July.
In August of 2009, after wrapping up one of the more decorated college careers in University of Florida history just two months prior, Horschel broke through in the professional ranks at the eGolf Tour’s Columbia Open, in turn collecting his first pro title and the event’s $50,000 first-place prize. Later that same year, Horschel earned his PGA TOUR card for the following season with a seventh-place finish at Q-School finals.
Former eGolf Tour players Jim Renner and Casey Wittenberg finished T10 in Boise, while former eGolf Tour members Scott Parel and Luke List continued their solid 2012 campaigns with matching T13 efforts.
For Parel, the T13 snapped the end of a two-event missed cut streak, and represented his fifth top-25 of the year. The Augusta, GA native nearly claimed his first tour title in May of this year when he lost in a playoff at the Rex Hospital Open. The top-15 in Boise moved Parel from No. 33 to No. 31 on the Web.com Tour money list with $125,288 in earnings.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut in Idaho include Dawie Van der Walt (T19), Ben Kohles (T19), Ben Martin (T19), James Sacheck (T26), Brice Garnett (T26), Derek Fathauer (T35), Chris Wilson (T35), Brad Fritsch (T35), Lee Williams (T35), Matt Harmon (T35), Jin Park (T42), Justin Hicks (T48), Billy Hurley (T48), Alex Coe (T55), Jon Mills (T55), Fernando Mechereffe (T62), Phillip Pettitt (T65), David Mathis (T67) and Andres Gonzales (69). For complete results from the Albertsons Boise Open on PGATOUR.com, please click here.