Golf

Albertsons Boise Open begins Thursday at Hillcrest

Martin Pillar acknowledges the crowd on his way to the trophy presentation after winning the 2015 Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club.
Martin Pillar acknowledges the crowd on his way to the trophy presentation after winning the 2015 Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club. Idaho Statesman file

Bryson DeChambeau is coming to Boise as the hottest golfer in the Web.com Tour Finals after winning the DAP Championship on Sunday to wrap up a PGA Tour card for next season.

The 22-year-old former SMU player beat Andres Gonzales with a 5-foot par putt on the second hole of a playoff at Canterbury Golf Club. DeChambeau and Gonzales each birdied the 18th on the first extra trip down the par-4 hole, eliminating Nicholas Lindheim and Argentina’s Julian Etulain.

“It’s a big patience test for me, and I think I passed,” DeChambeau said.

DeChambeau shot a 1-over 71 in windy conditions to match Gonzales (68), Lindheim (66) and Etulain (67) at 7-under 273.

“Not easy with the wind up, and the rough up. It was a brutal test,” DeChambeau said. “The U.S. Open definitely helped me a little bit, especially with how long the rough was, and being comfortable with hitting wedge shots around the greens. But the good thing is the greens were receptive when hitting irons in so you were really able to throw darts at pins.”

DeChambeau earned $180,000. The 2015 NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion got into the field as a non-member with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had he been eligible.

The four-event series features the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and some non-members such as DeChambeau. The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings.

The second Finals stop is the Albertsons Boise Open, which starts Thursday at Hillcrest Country Club.

Playing with an unusual iron configuration with 4-iron to lob wedge cut to standard 7-iron length, DeChambeau birdied the par-5 16th, three-putted for bogey on the long par-3 17th and closed with a par to get into the playoff.

“For some reason I’m able to just let that go and focus,” DeChambeau said “Really what that does is allow me to just say ok, it’s gone, it’s in the past, and move forward. I don’t hold it up or build it in me. I just ease out of it. I think that’s the most important thing that I stuck with it. Eventually I got a couple to fall, one on 16, and unfortunately on 17 I three putted. But on 18 I clutched up. “

Gonzalez earned $74,667 to also wrap up a tour card after finishing 154th in the FedEx Cup standings.

“Main objective accomplished,” Gonzalez said. “It’s only disappointing when you come this close. I had some good looks coming down. I played really solid the whole week. I kept the ball in front of me a lot, which is what you need to do here. … I’m pleased. I’m excited. I’m sure I'll be more excited after I get losing out of my mind.”

Lindheim and Etulain already earned cards from the regular-season Web.com Tour money list.

Zack Sucher was fifth at 6 under after a 71. PGA Tour winners Scott Stallings (65), Rory Sabbatini (70), Will MacKenzie (70) and D.A. Points (71) were 5 under. England’s Andrew “Beef” Johnston tied for 28th at even par after a 70.

Albertsons Boise Open

Who: Top 75 players on the Web.com Tour, Nos. 126-200 on the PGA Tour and select other golfers

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Hillcrest Country Club

Purse: $1 million ($180,000 for winner)

TV: The Golf Channel

Schedule: 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The tournament will utilize a two-tee start all four days (Nos. 1 and 10).

Tickets: $15 daily grounds, $25 weekly grounds ($35 at the gate), $50 weekly clubhouse ($70 at the gate). Youths 17 and younger get in free with a ticketed adult. Purchase, or get more info, at albertsonsboiseopen.com/tickets-info.

Parking: Free shuttle from the airport lot at Victory and Orchard.

Expected to participate: Web.com Tour No. 1 Wesley Bryan, rookie Bryson DeChambeau, British Open star Andrew “Beef” Johnston, former PGA Tour winners such as Stuart Appleby, Jason Gore, Matt Jones and Camilo Villegas, Tyler Aldridge of Nampa and several former Boise Open winners, including defending champion Martin Piller.

Other events at Hillcrest: Idaho Statesman Junior Clinic, 5 p.m. Wednesday; Pilot Error concert after golf on Friday; Lounge on Fire concert after golf on Saturday; Family Day activities, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (includes mascots, clowns, reptile show, etc.); Breakfast at Hillcrest, 9-11 a.m. Sunday (free for ticket holders); putting contest qualifiers each day with putt to win a car lease Sunday; enter the hole-in-one drawing Sunday to win $30,000 toward a car if a pro makes a hole-in-one.

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