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Putnam fires 66 to win Mexico Championship

Michael Putnam won the Mexico Championship presented by Banamex on Sunday to move to the top of the Tour money list.

Putnam moved to the top of the Tour money following this event. Halleran/Getty Images

LEON, Mexico (May 26, 2013) – The weather was benign most of the day at El Bosque Country Club. It really started to pick up at the end of Michael Putnam’s round when he was facing maybe the most important shot of the tournament. He had 220 yards from the middle of the 18th fairway thinking he needed birdie to win the Mexico Championship presented by Banamex. The wind started to pick up as he approached his ball which made the shot over water that much harder.

“When I hit my 4-iron I hit it a little low on the face and I was definitely holding my breath because I didn’t know if it would get over,” he revealed. “I knew if it got over it would go in the bunker because of the line that it was on.”

Putnam did find the greenside bunker and splashed out to five feet. After making the clutch five-foot birdie putt with the wind whipping his pants on the 72nd hole to win the tournament, his second career Tour victory, he showed a little emotion with a huge fist pump.

With that birdie he fired a final round six-under par 66, that put him at 275 13-under par two strokes better than Alex Prugh, Wes Roach and Whee Kim.

The 29-year-old, who has his older brother Joel on the bag, had fun all week and was able to make some clutch putts down the stretch. Even though he was having fun being in contention he was focused on his goal coming into the week.

“I came to Mexico to win,” he said. “I came here this week because I wanted to win the golf tournament.”

Third round co-leaders Prugh and Kim struggled in the final round failing to birdie the par-5 18th hole to put any pressure on Putnam.

Kim headed into the final round playing some really good golf but fatigue set in on his final nine as he was unable to make a move up the leaderboard.

“It was a long day out there,” the soft-spoken South Korean said. “I was getting tired near the end and I missed a couple of shots coming in.”

Prugh seemed to share Kim’s feelings about the delays having an effect on his performance on Sunday.

“It was just a long day,” said the six-year pro. “I just made to many mistakes of the tee and around the greens to win this golf tournament.”

Putnam on the other hand seemed to find the delays as a blessing. He used the extra warm-up time as motivation to practice which helped him get through a tough stretch of golf.

The Washington native could see this win coming with his finishes at the South Georgia Classic (T2) and the Stadion Classic at UGA (T5). He also revealed that he might have played his best golf ever in the Wednesday pro-am where his team tied for first.

The youngest Putnam, Andrew, who finished tied for ninth, had the best seat in the house to watch his brother’s win. He was watching from the clubhouse and decided to come down to the green. As his older brother walked off the green, the 24-year-old gave him a high-five and seemed really taken back by the whole experience.

“It was pretty surreal,” he revealed. “We were all pretty nervous watching in the dining hall. Just seeing him win was pretty cool because I was not there for his first win.”

The victory puts Putnam in the top spot on the money list with $246,234 which he sees as a very good thing.

“Anytime you have the No.1 on your back you know you’ve been playing well,” he said. “And to win and also lead the money list is a really cool thing.”

Final-Round Notes 

-- Hudson Swafford was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard in round two.

-- Wes Roach recorded his third top-10 of the season with his 277 11-under par finish today at the Mexico Championship. Roach had just one top-10 last year on the Tour. The Duke Alum collected a check of $52,266.67 which is more money that he made in 2012. He is now No. 15 on the money list at $103,526.

-- Whee Kim posted his best finish of the year a tie for second. The check moves him to No. 16 on the Tour money list at $97,049.

-- Alex Prugh, who was playing this week because of his top-25 last week in Greenville, finds himself at 30th on the money list and will get a significant bump in the next re-shuffle after the Air Capital Classic in two weeks. He is gets into the Mid-Atlantic Championship next week in Potomac, Maryland.

-- Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, the only Mexican player in the field to make the cut, finished the tournament at 279 9-under in a tie for seventh place. Rodriguez is eligible for next week’s Mid-Atlantic Championship and will try and make the trip to Potomac, Maryland for the event.

-- Michael Connell had a hole-in-one today at the par-3 15th measuring 232 yards on the card. Connell also birdied No.3 and No.12 putting him at four-under for his round on the par-3s. This is the second hole-in-one of the tournament. Kevin Tway had one in the second round on No.8.


-- The Tour will head to Potomac, Md., next week for the Mid-Atlantic Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm May 30 – June 2. Last year, David Lingmerth finished one-stroke better than leading money winner Casey Wittenberg to earn his first victory on Tour. Next week’s winner will earn $108,000 from the $600,000 purse.

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