Created: 09/29/2013 6:35 PM
(AP) PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Chesson Hadley won the Web.com Tour Championship. John Peterson won a trip back to the TPC Sawgrass to play in a far bigger tournament.
Lee Williams felt like the biggest winner of them all Sunday.
Needing a birdie on the 18th hole to have any chance of a PGA Tour card, Williams rapped a 55-foot birdie putt over the ridge and into the cup for a 69. Andres Gonzalez, playing in the same group, gave him a high-five and then missed a 12-foot birdie putt that would have knocked Williams out of the top 25 from a four-tournament money list that determines tour cards for next season.
"I knew what I had to do. There was no uncertainty in the moment," Williams said. "When you know what you have to do, it almost calms you down a little bit."
The last hope for Gonzalez was for Andrew Loupe to make bogey on the final hole. Loupe ran his birdie attempt 5 feet past the hole, and made it coming back for par to join Peterson, his teammate at LSU, on the PGA Tour next month.
The tournament wrapped up the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals _ four tournaments in which 25 cards were awarded based on the money list from those events. The tournaments were for the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list during the regular season, and Nos. 126-200 from the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. The top 25 from the Web.com regular season were assured their cards.
The final event had plenty of drama, although the players weren’t entire sure what was at stake until it was over.
Money mattered more than a score.
Hadley started the final round one shot behind Scott Gardiner, who took a double bogey on the fourth hole with a double hit and never caught up. Hadley closed with a 69 for his second Web.com Tour win of the year. He finished No. 4 on the money list, so his card already was safe.
"This is incredible," he said. "I was just trying to not puke on myself on the way in, even though I tried. This course is brutal and I’m glad I was able to conquer it."
What hurt him was Gardiner’s mistake late in the round _ a bogey on the 17th hole _ that dropped Gardiner from second place alone into a four-way tie for second. That was worth an additional $14,000 for Peterson, who was part of that four-way tie.
Peterson won the Web.com Finals money list by $567 over Hadley.
"At the end of the day, he played the best of anyone in the four tournaments," Hadley said.
Peterson didn’t finish outside the top five in any of the Web.com Finals events. By winning the Web.com Finals money list, he has full status on the PGA Tour next year and a spot in The Players Championship, the richest tournament in golf.
Hadley finished at 10-under 270 and still earned $180,000 and a high priority ranking for his rookie season on the PGA Tour. Brendon Todd, who already had his card through the regular-season money list, closed with a 65 and joined Peterson (67), Gardiner (72) and Brad Fritsch of Canada.
Fritsch had missed the cut in the previous three Web.com Finals events and was just looking for a good score to build confidence. His 68-66 weekend took him from going nowhere to return to the PGA Tour.
"I just wanted to play well and see where the chips fell," Fritsch said.
Others who were outside the top 25 on the money list and ended up with tour cards were Billy Hurley III, Joe Durant and Russell Knox of Scotland.
Just like Q-school, there were plenty of meltdowns.
Andrew Putnam, whose older brother won the Web.com Tour money list in the regular season, was in fourth place and two shots out of the lead going into the final round. He only needed to finish about 13th to get his card. Instead, he took triple bogey on the eighth hole on his way to a 75 to tie for 24th. Jhonattan Vegas and Rod Pampling, past PGA Tour winners, were inside the top 25 starting the last day. Vegas had a 74 and Pampling shot 73.
Chad Campbell, a three-time Ryder Cup player, closed with a 73 to end his hopes.
Sean O’Hair and Heath Slocum were among the former PGA Tour winners who earned back their cards this week. O’Hair had such a tough year that at one point he asked himself if he still wanted to play golf for a living.
"I still think I’ve got my best golf ahead of me," O’Hair said. "That’s what answered that question for me. I’m glad I got it done."