Last Updated on Monday, 09 April 2012 11:25
Monday, 09 April 2012 11:04
with files from Nationwide Tour
SAN JACINTO, Calif. -- Andres Gonzales didn't need any extra holes at the Soboba Golf Classic this time around.
The 28-year-old from Washington, a playoff runner-up here last fall, fired an even-par 71 Sunday to complete a wire-to-wire win, his first on the Nationwide Tour.
"I'm overjoyed right now," said Gonzales, who became the first start-to-finish winner on Tour since 2008.
"Last year was tough, coming in here and losing a playoff. I'm happy I got a little bit of revenge this year."
Gonzales finished at 8-under 276, two strokes in front of Andrew Svoboda, who temporarily grabbed a share of the lead Sunday when he eagled the par-5 6th hole.
Svoboda surrendered the lead back with bogeys and Nos. 10, 11 and 13, leaving Gonzales with a four-shot bulge midway through the back nine.
"I stuck with the same thing I was doing all week and that meant controlling what I could control," said Gonzales, who led by two shots entering the final day. "It also meant not looking at leaderboards until it came down to crunch time."
Alistair Presnell birdied the final two holes for a 3-under 68 that lifted him into a tie for third with Michael Letzig (70) at 5-under 279.
Canada's Adam Hadwin couldn't follow-up his blistering third round 65 but his 73 did leave him in a T5th with Justin Hicks, who ran off a string of five consecutive birdies on the front nine and Camilo Benedetti, all were four shots off the pace.
for the full final round leaderboard.
Gonzales' steady Easter diet of fairways (he hit 10 of 14) and greens (he hit 14 in regulation) was all he needed to pick up the winner's check for $135,000.
The victory, coupled with a runner-up effort at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship to open the year, pushes him to No. 1 on the money list.
"I was nervous today because I knew if I won this one I'd have a pretty good chance of getting back on the PGA TOUR," he said. Gonzales was a rookie on Tour in 2011 but made only nine cuts in 21 starts and wound up No. 192 on the money list.
Gonzales kept the field at arm's length for most of the day thanks to birdies at Nos. 5 and 8 that pushed him into double-digits under par. Svoboda's eagle put him at 9-under until his stumble after making the turn.
Gonzales, dealing with some jitters, bogeyed 15 and 16 and saw hit four-shot lead cut in half.
"After those two holes I thought I would be pretty close to being tied," he said. "The first time I knew where I stood for the day was when we got to 17 tee."
The former UNLV Rebel made a solid par-save to maintain his advantage and stepped to the tee at the reachable, par-5, 18th. A big drive in the fairway left him little to do but avoid the water that guards the front-left side of the green.
"I really wanted to hit wedge on the last hole but my caddie had me hit 9-iron over the green," he said.
Gonzales' ball wound up on the back fringe, some 75 feet from the pin. His first putt stopped five feet from the cup and then he missed again - by inches - and settled for a five.
"I really wanted that last putt so I could shoot all four rounds under par," he said. "But when you have four strokes to play with, I didn't mind tapping in for par. It's nice not to have to think about anything, I'll tell you that much."
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