Boise Open Notebook: Thursday, July 25

ccripe@idahostatesman.comJuly 26, 2013 

A BIG FINISH

Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand birdied the final five holes Thursday to shoot 8-under 63, the third-best score of the day.

"Michael (Putnam) just informed me of that (streak)," he said as he walked off the course.

He was aware none of the three players in his group made a bogey. Alex Prugh shot 64 and Putnam, the Web.com Tour's leading money-winner, shot 67.

There are benefits to playing in a hot group, Wilkinson said.

"No one's acting like a fool out there," he said. "We're all pretty happy."

Wilkinson wasn't playing that well through the first 11 holes, he said, but wasn't getting in trouble, either. He birdied No. 12 and turned his round when he hit a cut shot out of the trees to 2 feet on the par-4 14th.

He is eighth on the money list and on his way back to the PGA Tour for 2014. He played the Web.com Tour from 2005 to 2007, the PGA Tour from 2008 to 2010 and the Web.com Tour the past three seasons.

"My game is a lot better than it was back then," he said of his previous stint on the PGA Tour.

GORE FINDS FIRE

Jason Gore, who won the Boise Open in 2002, lost his passion for the game after shoulder surgery in 2011, he said.

He has won seven times on the Web.com Tour and once on the PGA Tour (2005). He spent recent years playing part time on both tours but has dedicated himself to the Web.com Tour this year because it is the only remaining avenue to obtain a full-time spot on the PGA Tour.

His goal: "Get the heck out of here," he said.

Gore shot a 65 on Thursday. He is 46th on the money list.

COLOMBIAN CONNECTION

Camilo Benedetti isn't the most famous Colombian golfer with his first name.

But he was a trailblazer for his country's growing golf community.

Benedetti played golf at Florida and has been on the Web.com Tour since 2007. Several other Colombians have followed the same path through the Gators program, including Camilo Villegas.

"It's getting better," Benedetti said of Colombian golf, which includes a Web.com Tour stop. "All the stuff we've done here, especially with Villegas on tour, it's getting bigger."

Benedetti still hasn't reached the PGA Tour. He came closest last year, when he struggled down the stretch and finished 26th on the Web.com Tour money list. The top 25 receive promotions.

"It's been a little frustrating," he said. "The last three years I've been really close."

This year has been a setback so far. He came to Boise ranked 52nd on the money list.

But he began to pull out of a swing funk two weeks ago and might have sparked a late-season run with a 65 in the first round at Hillcrest.

"It's been a long time," he said. "It's been a tough year so far. ... That I finally did something good with what I was trying to do, not that it just happened ... it was just good for myself, good for my soul."

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398

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