Very rarely does a pro-am day jolt a professional golfer, but University Place’s Michael Putnam felt so giddy the night before the start of the Web.com Tour’s Mexico Championship, he phoned his family to tell them this could be the week to win.
And he was right on.
Putnam closed with a 6-under-par 66 at El Bosque Country Club to chase down fellow Northwest product Alex Prugh, of Spokane, to win his second career Web.com Tour tournament. He captured the 2010 Utah Championship.
His 13-under 275 tournament total was two strokes better than Prugh, Whee Kim and Wes Roach at 277. Putnam won $126,000 for the victory.
The win is nice, but more importantly is the bigger prize – Putnam, 29, now the Web.com Tour’s money leader ($246,234), has essentially earned enough this season to clinch a permanent spot in the top 25, which gets him to the PGA Tour next season.
“Anytime you have the No. 1 on your back, you know you’ve been playing well,” Putnam said. “And to win and also lead the money list is a cool thing right now.”
Putnam fell off the pace Saturday when he made double bogey at the par-5 eighth hole. But he got off to a sizzling start by making birdies on four consecutive holes (Nos. 2-5).
Then he came to that same eighth hole again – a hole he made eagle at Thursday. And he did it again to close the front nine in 31.
“Luckily for me the leaders didn’t play their best today and I played very well to catch them,” Putnam said.
Putnam bogeyed the 11th and 13th holes to fall two back of Prugh. But the former University of Washington golfer had his own issues on the back nine with consecutive bogeys at the 15th and 16th hole holes.
Putnam moved into the solo lead with a birdie at No. 16, then made a decision to be aggressive at the finishing, into-the-wind par-5 18th by going for the green in two shots.
His 4-iron approach from 220 yards cleared the pond and landed in a greenside bunker. He blasted out, and made a 5-footer for a closing birdie – and two-shot win.
“Anytime you can contend in a tournament and play well, it’s fun,” Putnam said. “I came to Mexico to win, I came here this week because I wanted to win the golf tournament. And I was lucky enough to have a chance on the back nine and make some clutch putts on the last couple of holes, that helped me win the tournament.”
Here is a PGATour.com video interview with Putnam after his round.