By Joe Chemycz, PGA Tour
WESTLAKE, Ohio -- Shane Bertsch fired a 5-under-par 66 in Sunday’s rain-delayed final round and won the Rust-Oleum Championship, his third career win but his first in more than 10 years. The 45-year-old waited out a rain delay of 2 hours and 40 minutes, finishing with four consecutive pars for an 18-under-par total of 266.
Brazil’s Lucas Lee closed with a pair of birdies for a 6-under 65, but a costly double bogey at the par-5 14th derailed his chances at victory and he finished in second place, one shot back.
Leading money winner Patton Kizzire fired a bogey-free 67 and wound up two shots back and tied for third place with Michael Kim (68).
Brian Richey (69) and 54-hole leader Peter Malnati (72) shared fifth place at 14-under 270.
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The victory for Bertsch was worth $108,000 and vaulted him from No. 35 to No. 5 on the money list after 12 of 21 Regular Season events. Bertsch’s season total of $178,678 should be enough earn a PGA TOUR card for the 2015-16 season.
“It’s been a long time,” said Bertsch, whose last win came at the 2005 BMW Charity Pro-Am Presented by SYNNEX Corporation. “I’ve been close a few times. I’ve always known I could do it; I’m just glad I could prove it to everyone else.”
Bertsch started the final round at Lakewood Country Club tied for second and two shots off the pace but quickly moved to the top with four birdies in a five-hole stretch starting at the third hole. From there he had plenty of chances but couldn’t get any birdie putts to fall until the 13th hole. After a par on 14, storms rolled into the Cleveland area and halted play with 22 players left to finish.
“I didn’t realize I had a two-shot lead until we got into the weather delay,” said Bertsch, who grew up and still lives in the Denver area. “I was ready to finish it off. It was tough to come back out after that.”
Bertsch was facing a birdie putt of about five feet when the horn sounded, but missed the putt when play resumed.
“I was a little jittery when we came back,” he said. “I got a little nervous when that putt didn’t fall. A birdie there would have been huge and could have made a big difference. It had a lot more break than I imagined. Obviously at that point I knew it was in my hands.”
The former Texas A&M Aggie settled his nerves and closed his day with routine, two-putt pars. Bertsch finished the week second in fairways hit and first in greens in regulation.
“I’ve had some good weeks hitting fairways, but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time in my career I ever finished first in greens,” he said.