EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Peter Tomasulo two-putted for par on the fourth hole of a weather-delayed playoff to beat David Lingmerth and win the United Leasing Championship, the first event on the newly-named Web.com Tour.
The win for the 30-year-old Californian is the third of his career and caps a 21-month long comeback from a litany of injuries that include a broken bone in his foot, stress fractures in his ribs and a pair of surgeries earlier this year.
“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt really healthy,” said Tomasulo. “It’s a lot of fun being back out here. I miss being out here and playing. This feels great. It’s a blast being out here and competing again. I really didn’t expect to play well this early.”
Tomasulo, making only his third start of the 2012 calendar, collected a first-place check for $99,000 and moved from No. 200 to No. 21 on the Tour money list.
Tomasulo chalked up 10 birdies in Saturday’s third round and shot a 7-under 65 that moved him into contention and put him in the final threesome for Sunday’s finale. He was two back of 54-hole leader Alistair Presnell of Australia and was one of seven players tied for second place, with eight more within four of the lead.
The former Cal-Berkeley star jumped to the top of the list with four birdies in a five-hole stretch midway through the front nine and held on to it during much of the sweltering final round at Victoria National Golf Club where temperatures topped 103 degrees and broke Evansville records all four days.
Tomasulo was 12 under par and up by a stroke when he dunked his tee shot on the 72nd hole into water that guards the 432-yard, dogleg right closer.
“It was a terrible swing,” said Tomasulo of his 3-wood that found the drink. “I thought my caddie was going to jump in the water he was so mad. I told him all we have to do is make birdie with the second ball. I knew I had to make birdie so I stepped up and hit the same club.”
Lingmerth, following a 4-under 68, was on the driving range just in case his 11-under 277 total was good enough for extended play.
Tomasulo tagged a 9-iron from 165 yards to within eight feet and calmly canned the tournament-saving bogey putt to force the Tour’s third playoff in the past five weeks.
“I missed a couple of chances in regulation but I’m pretty proud of saving myself at the end,” he said. “Overall I putted great today, I just misread a couple down the stretch.”
Lingmerth and Tomasulo headed back to the same 18th hole to begin the playoff. Lingmerth, a 24-year-old second-year pro from Sweden by way of Arkansas, two-putted from 95 feet on the first extra hole for par while Tomasulo missed a potential winning birdie from 10 feet.
Lingmerth missed his best chance on the second extra hole when his birdie putt from 15 feet slid past the cup.
The two went to the reachable par-5 ninth hole next, where Tomasulo looked like he’d end things but wound up missing a birdie putt from about five feet.
“I don’t know what I was thinking on that one,” he said. “There’s no explanation for playing that one outside the hole. I should have just slammed it into the back of the cup.”
Seconds after missing, officials halted play because a nearby thunderstorm was kicking up enough lightning to be a threat. Some 25 minutes later, the two returned again to No. 18 but this time is was Lingmerth who watched his tee shot splash in the water.
Tomasulo played conservatively and hit a 7-iron to about 45 feet and then lagged his birdie try to within 18 inches. When Lingmerth’s par-saver from 16 missed, Tomasulo tapped in for the win.
Richard Scott (71) finished solo third at 10-under 278.
Scott Gardiner (66), Aaron Watkins (69), Monday qualifier Morgan Hoffman (71), Derek Fathauer (71) and Chris Riley (72) all tied for fourth place, just two shots back.
--The playoff was the third of the year – BMW Charity Pro-Am/Nick Flanagan, the Rex Hospital Open/James Hahn.
--The playoff was the first for both Peter Tomasulo and David Lingmerth.
--Peter Tomasulo led the field with 25 birdies this week. His total was offset by 12 bogeys and one double bogey. He tied for 20th in driving accuracy (43/56), tied for 34th in greens in regulation (50/72) and tied for fifth in putting (115).
--For the week David Lingmerth finished second in driving accuracy (49/56), second in greens in regulation (58/72) and tied for 32nd in putting (120).
--Scott Gardiner’s 6-under 66 was the best round of the day. Omar Uresti and Charles Warren carded 5-under 67s.
--The Web.comTour will take next week off before resuming at the Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club near Salt Lake City July 9-15.