Sports

Wolfe goes all the way in BMW Jamaica Classic

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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ROSE HALL, St James — Jamaica will always be special for Jared Wolfe as he earned his maiden professional title winning the inaugural BMW Jamaica Classic, a PGA Latinoamerica tour event at Cinnamon Hill course in Rose Hall, with a one shot victory in the four-round 72-hole tournament that was badly affected by rain.

He had a four-day total of 21 under par 267.

Wolfe led at the end of all four rounds, shooting eight under 64 for the first two, shot five under for third round that ended on Sunday and had an even par 72 for the final 18 holes including a two-stroke penalty late in the day.

Despite picking up the two-stroke penalty on the 13th hole in Sunday's fourth round, the 29-year-old American just got home ahead of two Mexicans — Jose de Jesus Rodriguez and Gerardo Ruiz who were a shot back after a brilliant final day of golf in the first PGA event to be staged in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Wolfe's local caddy mistakenly accepted a ride on a golf cart as he went to retrieve a piece of equipment for the player, a breach of the PGA rules and the penalty was assessed by the tournament officials.

Wolfe was on 23 under at the time and appeared well on his way to a comfortable win but the deduction opened the door for the two Mexicans and ensured a tense finish.

The Louisville, Kentucky native who took his earnings to US$51,459 after being presented with the winner's cheque of US$31,500 played 33 rounds of golf in four under par after the rains that caused seven delays from the opening round on Thursday, picking up his third round on the fourth hole on Sunday morning.

“I had a great week in Jamaica, it was exciting, we had a lot of fun,” he told the Jamaica Observer Sunday evening.

“The course was great, the greens were perfect; we had a lot of fun, course handled really well, especially with the rains we had but it was a good challenge, good test, lots of fun,” he said, echoing the sentiments of the organisers.

After opening with back-to-back rounds of eight under par 64 on the first two rounds that stretched from Thursday to Saturday, Wolfe told the Observer: “I was very, very happy with the first two days; I was very happy with how I closed things out given a couple circumstances that happened during the round, but all in all the end result was great and I am excited about it.”

He refused to blame his caddy for the mistake that could have cost him the win, telling the Observer, “It happens, the caddy hopped in a cart, he was offered a ride. Things happen; penalties are penalties and things happen like that, but he did a great job for me the other days and did a great job keeping my clubs dry during the rain, so he did a great job and I don't put any fault on him.”

The interrupted third round saw some brilliant golf as after three days of rain, the weather improved and while it was mostly dry, it was overcast and humid on Sunday. Michael McGowan shot a course record 10 under par 62, but then had a level par 72 on the fourth.

Ruiz and Carlos Sainz, jr both shot nine under 63 rounds after Jarred Garcia had shot 63 on the second day despite the soggy conditions.

Wolfe, who turned professional in 2010, birdied the par five first and ninth holes to play the front nine in two under par 33 and aside from the penalty was steady on the way to the finish line.

Rodriquez and American Tee-K Kelly kept up the pressure with five under par 67 scores as the Mexican finished at 20 under par, just one ahead of Kelly, who was fourth overall with a 269 score.

Ruiz finished tied second with his compatriot after his four under 68 Sunday, while Eric Steger's eight under 64 was the best individual score on Sunday, but finished 12th overall.

Brad Brunner shot seven under par 65 for the fourth round and ended tied for fifth, as Matt Ryan, Bryan Richie, Colin Featherstone, Sebastian Saavedra and Tommy Cocha all had six under par scores on Sunday.

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