Stroud Does Himself Proud in Reno
As if 11 years and 289 PGA Tour starts weren’t enough, Chris Stroud had to wait a little bit longer to notch his first PGA Tour victory.
It started with a final-round assault on par amid which the Texan collected 20 points in the modified Stableford format, getting him to 44 points for the tournament. A majestic 5-wood to 7 feet on the par-5 18th gave set up a closing eagle, good for five points and the solo lead.
He eventually found himself in a playoff, but not until two weather delays and several dodged bullets left him in a tie with Greg Owen and Richy Werenski, both also seeking their first Tour victories.
Stroud echoed his final-hole performance from regulation not once but twice, giving himself a realistic look at Eagle on the first and second playoff holes. Werenski matched him with a birdie the first time around, while Owen was eliminated with a par.
Werenski couldn’t duplicate Stroud’s efforts a second time around as Stroud two-putted for birdie and the win. He earned a spot in this week’s PGA Championship and a two-year PGA Tour exemption.
“So many times in my dreams, I thought about what I would say after my first win,” Stroud said. “My body’s shaking now. I’ve been so calm all day, but I’m freaking out now.”
Nine players have made the Barracuda Championship their first PGA Tour win since the event, formerly called the Reno-Tahoe Open, started in 1999. Stroud, who lost in a playoff against Ken Duke at the 2013 Traveler’s Championship, saw his time coming.
“I have been hitting the ball very nicely all year, I just haven’t made a lot of putts,” Stroud said. “I went back to an old counterbalance putter and the putts started going in.”
The outcome appeared unlikely before the day began; Owen lead by five points heading into the last round while Stroud stood outside the top 20. Owen, a 45-year-old English journeyman, leaked oil with three bogeys on his final nine as others capitalized on the volatile scoring system to make charges.
Driver: TaylorMade 2017 M2 (Fujikura Speeder Evolution S shaft), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade RBZ (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana shaft), 14.5 degrees
5-wood: Callaway XR (Mitusbishi Chemical Tensei Blue shaft), 19 degrees
Hybrid: Adams Super 9031 (Oban Kiyoshi Hybrid shaft), 21 degrees
Irons: Cleveland 588MT (5-iron; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft), Cleveland 588 Precision Forged MB (6-7; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts), Srixon Z Forged (8-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Custom (51, 55 and 60 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)
Putter: Odyssey White Ice D.A.R.T.
Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Republished with permission by Global Golf Post