Ryan Palmer made a crucial birdie on the 72nd hole to win the Ginn sur Mer Classic in Florida by a single shot from a group of five players.
The American came into the week 143rd on the money list and was in serious danger of losing his playing privileges for 2009. He now has the luxury of a two-year exemption.
Palmer was forced to call a penalty on himself on the 10th hole of the final round when his ball moved slightly after he addressed it on the green. That resulted in a bogey and it had clearly rattled the 32-year-old. His next tee shot was pulled into the water and he went on to make a double bogey at the 11th hole.
At that point Palmer had fallen out of the lead but a birdie on the par-5 13th saw him climb back into a share of the top spot. The Texan parred the next four holes before making a key birdie at the 18th. He laid up with his second, fired a sand wedge into 10 feet and sunk the putt to break clear of the log-jam on six-under-par and win the tournament by one.
In one of the most congested finishes to an event on this year’s PGA Tour, the title could have gone to any one of about ten players. Aside from the five men who finished a single shot back, John Huston hit his tee shot into the water on the 16th and finished two back, Mark Wilson also made double bogey at that hole. Robert Allenby needed a birdie at the last to tie but his approach went long and he failed to get up and down.
Palmer is the fifth winner in six tournaments of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series who has been outside the top 125 on the money list. The exception was Zach Johnson who was bang on 125th spot when he won in Texas.
1 Ryan Palmer (USA) 67 71 72 71 281 $828,000
T2 Ken Duke (USA) 70 69 72 71 282 $276,000
T2 Michael Letzig (USA) 65 74 70 73 282 $276,000
T2 George McNeill (USA) 71 71 71 69 282 $276,000
T2 Vaughn Taylor (USA) 69 74 69 70 282 $276,000
T2 Nicholas Thompson (USA) 71 70 72 69 282 $276,000
T7 Robert Allenby (Aus) 68 71 73 71 283 $133,860
T7 Brian Gay (USA) 72 70 72 69 283 $133,860
T7 John Huston (USA) 70 70 70 73 283 $133,860
T7 Troy Matteson (USA) 71 74 70 68 283 $133,860
T7 Tom Scherrer (USA) 68 76 70 69 283 $133,860
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.