Life changing win for rookie McNeill in Las Vegas
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 Frys.com Open | Round Four | 15 Oct 2007
George McNeill today proved that twelve months is a long time in golf when he won his first tournament in his rookie season a year after leaving a job as an assistant professional. His four shot win at the Frys.Com Open in Las Vegas has changed his life.
McNeill played the Nationwide and Golden Bear Tours earlier in his career but it was his five shot win at last year’s Tour School that suggested he was a player out of the ordinary. Being medallist at Tour School is not always a guarantee of a successful career on the PGA Tour but McNeill showed today that his effort was no flash in the pan despite a perhaps disappointing rookie season to date. McNeill finished third in Canada in September but was on the verge of heading back to Tour School in December until his victory here today.
“I actually sent my tour school entry in a couple weeks ago because I had to get it in by October 3rd, I think,” said McNeill after his victory. “So I mean I was exempt to the finals, which was nice. I’ve never had that. But to do this is pretty special. I feel good with everything that went on this week, and hopefully I can continue and the whole thing about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, well hopefully my game travels. We’ll see.”
McNeill did a great job as he led for so much of the tournament following his second round of 64. He took a five shot lead into the final day and although D.J. Trahan closed the gap to three with an early burst of four consecutive birdies, McNeill maintained his composure. His only dropped shot came at the last and the winning margin was eventually four over D.J Trahan and eight over Cameron Beckman and Robert Garrigus.
Phil Tataurangi was the best of the Australasians at an event and a venue where he recorded his only PGA Tour victory in 2002. Tataurangi has been playing on Medical Exemption in 2007 and although his 14th place finish will not preclude him from Tour School he will no doubt take a lot from the week.
Mathew Goggin finished 21st, his third round of 76 costing him a lot of money, Stephen Leaney took his earnings for the season past US$1 million when he finished 21st.
Leaney has been almost noticeable by his absence this season in terms of results but once again he has done more than enough to keep his playing rights. Grant Waite continues to get PGA Tour starts as a result of the number of career cuts he has made and finished 38th this week in his 11th start of the season, Gavin Coles was 50th, Jarrod Lyle 54th and Richard Green 76th.
The PGA Tour will now play the Frys Electronics Open in Scottsdale.