Bill Lunde was the surprise winner of the Turning Stone Championship in New York State. The 35-year-old American fired a final round of 66 to beat countryman J.J Henry by a single shot.
Lunde only just made the cut in the tournament but he climbed the leaderboard with a 64 in the third round. He started the final day four shots behind Germany’s Alex Cejka, but he sprinted to the top of the pile with six birdies on his front nine to go out in 30.
He dropped a shot at the 11th but got it back at the par-3 16th. Two closing pars saw him into the clubhouse at 17-under-par. It was a total nobody was able to match.
The victory caps an amazing turnaround for Lunde. Just five years ago he was on the verge of quitting professional golf and had found a job selling real estate in Las Vegas. But he persevered and came back to the PGA Tour via the Butch Harmon Tour then the Nationwide Tour. With this victory he has an exemption on the PGA Tour to the end of 2012.
“I tried to make an agreement with myself when I started playing again to just have a better attitude right off the bat, I’d become a better player if I could do that,” he said.
J.J Henry closed with a course record-equalling 63 to climb into second place. It was his fifth runner’s-up finish on the PGA Tour.
“I just wanted to try to make some putts, and I hit a lot of good shots, made a lot of tap-ins,” he said. “I’m not here to say I should’ve shot lower, but I missed it from six or eight feet on 18, so that might have been something that you never know.”
Overnight leader Cejka had a disappointing final round of 72. He was still in contention until he found a water hazard on the 14th and dropped a key shot. He parred his way in after that to finish two shots back.
“A bogey there really cost me,” said the German who was looking for his first PGA Tour victory in his 228th career start.
Turning Stone Resort Championship
Atunyote GC, Verona, New York
August 5-8, purse $4,000,000, par 72
1 Bill Lunde (USA) 73 68 64 66 271 $720,000
2 J.J Henry (USA) 69 70 70 63 272 $432,000
T3 Alex Cejka (Ger) 66 68 67 72 273 $180,400
T3 Jerry Kelly (USA) 70 70 69 64 273 $180,400
T3 Billy Mayfair (USA) 70 68 66 69 273 $180,400
T3 Michael Sim (Aus) 69 71 67 66 273 $180,400
T3 Josh Teater (USA) 71 67 69 66 273 $180,400
T8 Richard S Johnson (Swe) 69 70 68 67 274 $120,000
T8 Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 65 70 71 68 274 $120,000
Note: Player name in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only