By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to PGA of America
PORT ST. LUCIE –
It’s not often when you start the final round tied for the lead, shoot even par and lift the trophy.
But that’s what happened to Brett Melton on Friday at PGA Golf Club.
He shot a 72 to win Event No. 5 of the PGA Tournament Series by two shots over Rod Perry, Frank Bensel and Adam Rainaud. Melton finished at 4-under 140 to earn $5,000 for his third career PGA Tournament Series title.
“I got it to 7-under after three straight birdies (at 5, 6 and 7) and just tried to make pars from there,” said Melton, a PGA Assistant Professional at Radley Run Country Club in West Chester, Pa. “But the tough course took over.
“I feel fortunate to shoot even par and not get passed today with the quality of the field.”
Perry (74) had an uncharacteristic up-and-down day, making five birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey on a difficult Wanamaker Course. He was a shot back heading to 18, but made a bogey after his approach barely cleared the water.
“I made too many mistakes and you can’t do that on this type of course,” said Perry, the PGA Head Professional at Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club in Port Orange.
Perry’s third runner-up finish of the PGA Tournament Series leaves him $653 behind Danny Balin ($9,555) for leading money winner of the PGA Tournament Series. Perry has been leading money winner twice, but that’s not his goal for next week’s Event No. 6.
“Winning a tournament,” Perry said. “That’s what we’re all out here for.”
Melton agreed. “Winning never gets old,” he said.
Bensel, who spends his winters working at the two Breakers golf courses, notched his second runner-up finish in the last week. He shot a 73.
“I just couldn’t get it in the hole,” Bensel said. “The greens were really difficult.”
Rainaud started the round tied for 11th, but moved up after a 72. Nick Latimer-Zabor (71-143) was alone in fifth.
The PGA Tournament Series is presented by Golf Advisor.
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