By TOM LAMARRE,
Five years ago, Bill Lunde quit golf and got a real job, which made him appreciate the one he gave up.
So Lunde returned to the game and made it to the PGA Tour last year, then earned his first victory on the circuit by shooting 6-under par 66 in the final round to win the Turning Stone Resort Championship by one stroke over J.J. Henry at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, N.Y.
“I started driving it really well, hitting it down the fairway,” said Lunde, whose best previous finish on the big tour was a tie for fourth in the 2009 Frys.com Open. “So, that kind of changed the whole game. I went from scrambling to make pars to having nine irons that I could hit close.
“All these guys out here, you’re never far from playing good. You can sit here and say, ‘I’m playing awful, I don’t know how I’m going to break 80 today,’ but you’re never that far off.”
Lunde, from San Diego and UNLV, carded a score of 73-68-64-66–271, 17-under par, and collected $720,000, while Henry finished at 69-70-70-63–272.
Billy Mayfair of Phoenix and Arizona State shot 70-68-66-69–273 and tied for third with Jerry Kelly, who wound up at 70-70-69-64–273, Josh Teater, who totaled 71-67-69-66–273, Michael Sim of Australia, who finished at 69-71-67-66–273, and Alex Cejka of Germany, who came in at 66-68-67-72–273.
Rory Sabbatini of the University of Arizona and South Africa tied for eighth at 65-70-71-68–274, Charley Hoffman of Poway and UNLV tied for 10th at 71-67-68-69–275, and Scott McCarron of Sacramento and UCLA tied for 16th at 72-70-64-70–276.
Scott Piercy of Las Vegas and San Diego State shot 71-70-70-66–277 and tied for 22nd with Matt Bettencourt of Alameda and Modesto Junior College, who finished at 68-72-71-66–277, and John Mallinger of Escondido and Long Beach State, who wound up at 67-70-71-69–277.
Alex Prugh of the University of Washington and Spokane, Wash., tied for 33rd at 72-68-68-70–278, Dean Wilson of BYU and Honolulu tied for 41st at 72-67-71-69–279, and Chris Tidland of Torrance and Oklahoma State tied for 48th at 66-69-70-75–280.
Tom Pernice Jr. of Sacramento and UCLA tied for 52nd at 70-71-72-68–281, Troy Merritt of Phoenix and Boise State tied for 61st at 72-69-71-71–283, and Graham DeLaet of Boise State and Canada tied for 69th at 72-68-72-74–286.
Lunde birdied three of the last four holes in the second round to make the cut on the number, but still trailed Cejka by four strokes heading to the final round. As the leader faltered on Sunday, Lunde torched the front nine for six birdies.
Then he took the lead for good on the 16th hole by hitting his approach with a seven iron from 177 yards to within four feet and sank the birdie putt before finishing with two rock-solid pars.
“Shooting 30 on the front side was obviously big for momentum and got my confidence going,” said Lunde, the 12th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season. “I tried not to get too conservative. I tried to keep playing and trying to make birdies where I had a chance, I felt, and tried to stay in the moment, and was able to kind of pull it off.
” . . . I tried to make an agreement with myself when I started playing again. If I could just have a better attitude right off the bat, I’d become a better player than I ever was before. And that was kind of my goal.
“Obviously it doesn’t happen every day, but it’s definitely better than it was and something I’ll probably battle for the rest of my life.”
But he knows it beats working 9-to-5.
Welcome! Log into your account
Recover your password
A password will be e-mailed to you.