Erik Van Rooyen secured his first PGA Tour win after a scintillating final round at the Barracuda Championship.
Erik Van Rooyen Sets Tournament Record In Maiden PGA Tour Win
It was a different format for players this week, with a Modified Stableford scoring system being in play for the tournament.
Over the front nine, Van Rooyen found himself some 10 points back of the leaders. However, an eagle and two birdies in a nine-point stretch soon bought the South African into contention going into the back nine.
Further birdies followed at the par-4 13th and 16th to give the 31-year-old a slight cushion playing the last.
Drama would follow though. Holding a three-point lead on the 72nd hole he would, in his words, produce “probably the worst shot I hit all week.” A pull hook left into the trees.
It seemed that the golfing gods were looking down on Van Rooyen however, as his drive pinballed in the trees and rolled back into the centre of the fairway.
Clipping his seven-iron approach to 15-feet, the South African would roll in the subsequent birdie putt to a huge fist pump and roar.
The 50 point score from Van Rooyen was a new tournament record, with his five-point winning margin over Andrew Putnam giving him his first taste of success on the PGA Tour.
After becoming a dad only a month ago, the victory was a huge one for Van Rooyen, with the 31-year-old saying this after his win: “Valerie is obviously way too small to have any understanding of what just happened, but my wife (Rose) has been my rock. She’s been absolutely amazing.
“She’s been pretty much a single parent for three of the last four weeks, ever since we had her. Her parents were with her when I was playing The Open, but I’ve been gone three out of the four weeks. So, as I mentioned earlier, this goes out to my wife, Rose, and little Valerie.”
With this victory, Van Rooyen has also secured a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour: “Obviously this was, in my mind, kind of the next step for what I wanted to achieve. I’ve got big dreams and aspirations, and winning on the PGA Tour was certainly part of that.
“It’s massive. 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.
“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 and the pressure that I was under, I’m going to take so much confidence from this.”