South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen wins Barracuda Championship

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TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) — Erik van Rooyen won the Barracuda Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, finishing with 50 points in the modified Stableford scoring system.

“Obviously, this was, in my mind, kind of the next step for what I wanted to achieve,” van Rooyen said. “I’ve got big dreams and aspirations, and winning on the PGA Tour was certainly part of that. I’m really, really happy.”

The 31-year-old former University of Minnesota player from South Africa eagled the par-4 eighth and closed with a birdie on the par-4 18th — after a good bounce off a tree — for a five-point victory over Andrew Putnam at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood Course.

Players receive eight points for an albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie and zero for par. A point is subtracted for a bogey, and three points are taken away for a double bogey or worse.

Van Rooyen had a 16-point final round, making the eagle, six birdies and a bogey.

“I just stayed so patient,” van Rooyen said. “I saw that Andrew Putnam got off to a really, really quick start. He was 45 points pretty early on. And there’s really nothing I could do about that. I’ve got to put one foot in front of the next. And I did that. And then the eagle on eight was just a massive boost.”

Van Rooyen jumped from 139th to 78th in the FedEx Cup standings, with the top 125 after the Wyndham Championship next week earning spots in the playoff opener at Liberty National. He earned a spot in the PGA Championship next year but not the Masters because the event is being played opposite a World Golf Championship — the FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee.

“It’s massive. It’s massive,” van Rooyen said. “It’s been a difficult sort of 18 months for me golf-wise. I haven’t been playing well. There’s been glimpses of it the last six months. But I haven’t been able to put four good rounds together. So I was well aware of the position I was in going into the playoffs, knowing that I’ve only got eight rounds left to make that cut.

“And to win here this week, I mean, under the conditions, you know, the pressure that I was under, I’m going to take so much confidence from this.”

Putnam scored 11 points on the first four holes with an eagle on the par-5 second and three birdies, then had two birdies and a bogey on the final 14 holes. He won the 2018 event for his lone PGA Tour title.

“It was a dream start — birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie — and then just kind of hit the brakes and stalled out a bit,” Putnam said. “And just didn’t get it to happen those last few holes.”

Scott Piercy was third with 44 points after an 11-point day. Third-round leader Adam Schenk had a five-point round to finish with 43.

“It was unfortunate I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Schenk said. “I didn’t play good enough to win. He made a lot of putts, didn’t really make many mistakes. And he just deserved it more than I did, for sure.”

Putnam went from 104th to 75th in the FedEx Cup standings, and Piercy 144th to 126th, and Schenk 113 to 95th.

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