Brenden Pappas of South Africa was declared the winner of the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open Sunday when lightning cancelled the third round and forced the Nationwide Tour to enter the tournament as a 36-hole event in its record book.
The 40-year-old Pappas posted rounds of 67-66--133 (-9) for his only two trips around Bogota Country Club. Pappas’ group had played three holes of the third round Sunday before players were pulled off the golf course for the last time just before 2:00 p.m.
Floridian Matt Every finished second, having shot a pair of 67s in the first two rounds.
As it turns out, Pappas’ birdie on his 36th hole on Saturday was the margin of victory over Every.
Five players including Colombian David Vanegas tied for third at 7 under par.
Mother Nature was at least a co-winner alongside Pappas, with rain being a factor every day of the Nationwide Tour’s lone sanctioned event in South America. The first round wasn’t completed until Saturday and the last putt of the second round wasn’t was holed until 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The goal of Nationwide Tour officials was to complete a 54-hole official money and official tournament on Sunday. As a result of only playing 36 holes, Pappas earned $108,000 in official money and is credited with an unofficial win.
“This was a hollow victory because it’s unofficial,” the winner said. “We didn’t get to play 72 holes, but it’s a victory nonetheless.”
Pappas rededicated himself to his game this year after suffering through a disappointing year on the PGA Tour in 2010, when he finished 197th on the money list.
“My goal this year is to be No. 1 on the money list and it hasn’t been in the past,” the 1993 University of Arkansas graduate said. “I had some very stern conversations with myself in the off season, trying to decide what I actually wanted to do with my game. It must have paid off. I’m in the waning light of my career so I’ve got to get it done right now. There’s no more tomorrow or next year.”
Pappas took a moment at the trophy ceremony to thank the people of Colombia for welcoming the Nationwide Tour for the second year in a row. “This was my first trip to Bogota and it was fantastic,” he said. “The people are such spirits and the golf course was a terrific old-styled course, the kind the players love to play.”
The last time the Nationwide Tour had a 36-hole finish was the 2008 HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship, with Darren Stiles declared the champion.
After opening the 2011 season in Panama and Colombia, the Nationwide Tour plays its first tournament on U.S. soil, the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, March 24-27.
--Third-round tee times ran from 11:40 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. with threesomes off the first and 10th tees. Play was suspended for the day at 1:50 p.m.
--The last time the Nationwide Tour had a tournament reduced to 54 holes was The Rex Hospital Open in 2010. The start of the fourth round was delayed for three hours because of rain. Play lasted less than two hours before another storm forced officials to cancel the round and the final results reverted back to the third round, where John Riegger held a five-stroke lead.
--Aaron Watkins tied the course record with a 6-under 65, when he completed his second round on Sunday morning.
--The second-round scoring average for the par-71 course was 71.799.