By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to PGA of America
PORT ST. LUCIE – When Bob Sowards signed his scorecard Tuesday, he didn’t think he had a chance of winning Event No 4 of the PGA Tournament Series.
“I would have bet my car that wasn’t enough to win,” Sowards said of his 4-under 68 to finish at 5-under 139.
Good thing for Sowards he didn’t make that wager. Rich Berberian’s two-shot lead evaporated with a double bogey-bogey finish, enabling Sowards to win his eighth career PGA Tournament Series title.
“I played really solid, but I figured I needed to get to 7-under to win,” Sowards said. “There were 16 guys ahead of me (to start the round), a lot of guys who have won some really big tournaments. I didn’t expect this.”
Neither did Berberian, the reigning PGA Professional Player of the Year. He birdied three consecutive holes on the front nine and seemed to be in control when he stepped to the 17th tee at 7-under, leading by two.
But a bad drive and a bladed chip led to a double bogey on the 17th hole, and Berberian failed to get up and down after landing in a fairway bunker on No. 18.
“It’s the first time I’ve been in bunkers, and I was in 3 of them the last 2 holes<” Berberian said. “They were plugged. But I hit a bad chip on No. 17. I should have been able to make a bogey from there.
“These are not easy to win, and I proved it just now.”
Sowards, a Dublin, Ohio resident, is tied for seventh on the all-time PGA Tournament Series list. He felt bad for Berberian afterward.
“I’ve lost tournaments like that, anyone who has played for a while has lost tournaments like that,” Sowards said. “Rich is a really good guy. It’s unfortunate.”
Berberian (72) tied for second at 140 with Justin Sheehan (69), who holed out for birdie on his last hole, and Rod Perry (71). Berberian has three top-five finishes in the PGA Tournament Series.
Omar Uresti (73) tied for fifth with Kyle Martin (67) and Charles Phillips (71) at 141.
“I didn’t hit it close enough to make any putts,” said Uresti, the reigning PGA Professional Champion who posted his third consecutive top-five finish.
The PGA Tournament Series is presented by Golf Advisor.
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