(Reuters) - Australia’s Greg Chalmers closed with an emphatic eagle to secure his maiden PGA Tour triumph at the Barracuda Championship on Sunday, his six-point victory earning him the added bonus of a British Open exemption.
A shaky Chalmers carded a four-point final round for a 43-point total to emerge victorious over American Gary Woodland at an event that uses the modified Stableford scoring system at the scenic Montreux Golf layout in Reno, Nevada.
Colt Knost finished alone in third place on 35 points, one ahead of his American compatriot Tim Herron.
Woodland, playing in the group ahead of Chalmers, was the only player to mount a serious challenge but a messy three-putt bogey on the par-five 18th gave the Australian some breathing room after he had dropped a shot on the penultimate hole.
Chalmers initially thought Woodland had finished with a birdie but after the Australian hit a fairway-splitting drive, his caddie informed him of the American’s unfortunate finish.
A relieved Chalmers then struck a sumptuous 230-yard approach to nine feet below the cup and sealed his triumph by draining the eagle putt.
”I thought I was in trouble,“ Chalmers told reporters. ”I thought Gary birdied the last hole and then I crushed the driver. The best shot, the only good shot I hit all day.
The 42-year-old Chalmers was making his 386th career start on the North American-based circuit and the victory was his first since he claimed a second Australian PGA Championship title in December 2014. He has also won two Australian Opens.
“In golf you always have to think something good is around the corner,” said Chalmers, who credited a new driver for his improved form.
“I thought my game was close. Today was a battle but the first three rounds I played really well.”
The format awards eight points for an albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, and subtracts a point for bogey and three for double-bogey or worse.
As well as receiving a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, the victory will also allow Chalmers to tee up at the British Open at Royal Troon starting on July 14.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by John O'Brien