Monday, August 04, 2008

Parker McLachlin gets first PGA Tour Win

Honolulu's Parker McLachlin didn't expect to even play in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, let alone come away with his first victory on the PGA Tour.

Now he's secured a spot in this week's PGA Championship at Oakland Hill and, perhaps more important to him, an invite to the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship next January in his home state of Hawai'i.

"I used to go over there and work that golf tournament picking the range, spending the week over there when I was 13, 14 years old being a standard bearer," said McLachlin, 29, who held on with a 2-over-par 74 yesterday to win the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open at 18-under 270 — seven strokes better than Brian Davis and John Rollins.

"I can vividly remember being a standard bearer for Fred Couples. I just idolized those guys and to be part of that fraternity, I just can't express it," McLachlin said. "It has been a dream of mine since I was about 12."

The Punahou School and UCLA alum, who is in his second year on tour, began the final round with a six-shot lead after tying the course record of 62 on Friday and setting a 54-hole mark of 20-under par at the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club near Lake Tahoe.

He extended it to seven after three holes yesterday, but the nerves tightened when he saw it shrink to four with seven holes to play before escaping trouble several times down the stretch and dropping a 15-foot putt on the 18th for his lone birdie of the day.

"I was fortunate to have that big cushion because I needed it," McLachlin said. "Brian was putting the heat on and I was feeling it.

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