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Rocco Mediate holds on to claim victory

Rocco Mediate held his nerve while shrugging off five bogeys in 12 holes to win his first PGA Tour title in eight years with a thrilling one-shot victory at the Open in San Martin on Sunday.

Three ahead overnight, Mediate was caught by four other players on the back nine and briefly surrendered the outright lead before sealing the wire-to-wire win with a spectacular finish.

The 47-year-old American sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the 16th and then holed out from the fairway to eagle the 17th on the way to a two-over-par 73 at a wet CordeValle Golf Club.

He finished on a 15-under total of 269, one ahead of compatriots Bo Van Pelt (71) and PGA Tour rookie Alex Prugh (69).

United States Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler, who birdied three of the last seven holes, was fourth at 13 under after closing with a 69.

Van Pelt rolled in a 38-footer to birdie the last and Prugh sank a 10-footer to put pressure on Mediate but the Tour veteran coolly knocked in a five-foot par putt to clinch his sixth PGA Tour victory.

“This just means everything to me,” a beaming Mediate told reporters after winning his first title on the U.S. circuit since the 2002 Greater Greensboro Classic.

“I was having a tough time with the weather. It was busting me up today and I couldn’t hit it. And then it calmed a little bit and all of a sudden I got a little angry.”

At that point, Mediate promised his caddie he would not miss any more fairways playing the last eight holes.

“I somehow got some motion,” he said. “I hit it okay, even though I hit a few bad swings. But I made the putt on 16 which made 17 possible.”

The final round unfolded on a rainy day at CordeValle and Mediate was briefly handed a four-stroke cushion when his playing partner van Pelt double-bogeyed the fourth.

However Mediate bogeyed the sixth, after bunkering his approach, and also the par-five ninth, after three-putting from 10 feet and just two strokes clear at the turn, the American dropped another shot at the par-three 11th where he again three-putted to slip to 13 under overall.

Mediate also stumbled at the 12th where he overshot the green with a wedge approach and wound up with another bogey, leaving him tied for the lead with Van Pelt and Prugh.

Chris Tidland made it a four-way tie at the top with three consecutive birdies from the 12th before Fowler also joined them by sinking a 12-footer to birdie the 14th.

Prugh and Tidland each fell back, with respective bogeys at 14 and 16, before Van Pelt snatched the outright lead by knocking in a four-foot birdie putt at the 15th.

Mediate, who had struggled on the greens, pulled level with Van Pelt when he made an 18-footer for birdie at the par-three 16th.

Fowler also got to 13 under when he drove the green at the par-four 17th and two-putted from 22 feet for birdie.

The brilliant shot-making continued when Prugh very nearly aced the 17th, his ball landing a foot short of the cup before bouncing forward three feet beyond.

Playing partner Mediate, who had laid up short of the green off the 17th tee, asked Prugh to mark his ball before he holed out from 116 yards for his fourth eagle of the week.

“I had a perfect number,” Mediate said. “And when I hit it, I went: ‘Oh, that’s got to be good, that would be nice’. And when it went in, I thought: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’.”


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