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North Plains, Ore. – Carlos Ortiz capped off a regular season to remember Sunday by winning the WinCo Foods Portland Open and earning fully exempt status for the 2014-15 PGA TOUR wraparound season, which begins in October.

Ortiz, a 23-year old rookie from Mexico, shot an even-par 71 at the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge to finish with a 14-under 270 total, one stroke better than Jason Gore (66) and Adam Hadwin (70).

The victory was worth $144,000 to Ortiz, who has stood atop the money list since April, and solidified his position at No. 1 as the Tour enters its’ four-tournament Finals series that will ultimately determine the final money positions.

Win No. 3 pushed his season earnings to $515,403 – the third highest single-season in Tour history.

“I didn’t envision any of this. To be honest, I came out this year without any expectations,” said Ortiz, who enjoyed a solid but not spectacular college career at the University of North Texas in Denton. “I realized early that if I was able to play good I would be able to win on this Tour.”

Ortiz won in weeks four and six and took over the top spot on the money list but then struggled through the heart of the season, missing four of seven cuts with no top-25 finishes.

“I got a little bit lost in the middle of the season and started thinking too much,” said Ortiz. “There were a lot of expectations and a lot of distractions. You’re in the eye of everybody all the time. Everything I’m doing is new for me. I’ve never been here before and there is a great deal to learn. I think I managed it much better this time.”

Ortiz held the second- and third-round leads and opened Sunday’s finale with three birdies in his first five holes to open up a four-stroke lead.

“I think I relaxed a little bit after those birdies,” he said. “I only took a couple of glances at the board and tried not to pay too much attention. I knew it was playing hard.”

Ortiz and most of the field struggled on the final day to find birdies and make significant moves against par. Veteran Jason Gore, the Tour’s all-time career victory leader with seven, made the day’s biggest charge with a 5-under 66 that put him in the clubhouse at 13-under par nearly an hour and a half in front of Ortiz and playing partner Hadwin.

“I thought I needed to shoot 8- or 9-under today to have a chance to win,” said Gore. “I figured if I could get to 15-under today I might be real close. I’ve done all I can do. If Carlos beats me, hats off to him.”

Ortiz did just that by firing at the middle of the green and two-putting for par seven times on the final nine, including the dramatic 18th, where Hadwin missed a 25-foot birdie putt that might have forced a playoff.

“I felt like I needed to get to 16-under but 14 worked, so I’m pretty happy about that,” said Ortiz, who needs to finish No. 1 on the overall money list in four weeks in order to secure an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship next May.

In addition to the main plot of the tournament, the story lines this week centered on the top-25 players on the money list – those who also earned PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming season.

Number two money winner Andrew Putnam and No. 3 Zack Sucher both missed the 36-hole cut but managed to hold their positions. Hadwin, winner of the Chile Classic, moved up six spots and will head into the Finals at No. 4 on the money list.

Non-winner Justin Thomas finished T26 this week and secured the No. 5 spot on the money list.

The only movement into the top-25 belonged to Ohio native Kyle Reifers, who birdied the 17th hole and wound up T21, which was just enough to move him up from No. 27 to No. 25 and bump Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen (m/c) out by $1,463.

FOURTH ROUND NOTES:

* Sunday’s weather: Mostly sunny. Winds NW 10-15 mph. Daytime high 81.

CARLOS ORTIZ

* He collects his third win in his 16th start of the year and the 17th start of his Web.com Tour career.

* He earns fully-exempt status on the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season by virtue of his third win.

* He enters the Web.com Tour Finals as the top player on the money list – though the final money list will be determined at the end of the four events which culminate with the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley course) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Sept. 15-21. (The leading money winner at the end of the Finals will earn fully-exempt status for 2014-15 AND a berth in THE PLAYERS Championship in 2015.)

* He becomes the 20th player in Tour history to win three times in a single season and the first since Michael Sim in 2009.

* He becomes the 10th player in Tour history to earn an “instant promotion” to the PGA TOUR since it’s inception in 1997.

* He becomes the third consecutive foreign-born player, and the first from Mexico, to earn an instant promotion to the PGA TOUR. He follows in line behind Nick Flanagan of Australia (2007) and Michael Sim of Australia (2009) as foreign-born players to earn TOUR promotions.

* He collects a first-place check for $144,000 and pushes his single-season total to $515,403.

* He remains No. 1 on the money list for the 16th consecutive week this year (out of 21 events).

* He increases his lead on the money list to $194,965 over No. 2 Andrew Putnam ($320,438).

* Tournament Statistics:

32 of 52 fairways 61.5% T49
57 of 72 greens 79.2% 3
3 of 5 sand saves 60.0% T22
116 total putts T35

* He earns the eighth win in 21 events this year by players born outside the United States – Ortiz/Mexico (3); Alex Cejka/Germany; Adam Hadwin/Canada; Sebastian Cappelen/Denmark; Greg Owen/England; Roger Sloan/Canada.

* He becomes the second-youngest player in Tour history to earn an “instant promotion” to the PGA TOUR. Ortiz wins at the age of 23 years and 4 months. Nick Flanagan was the youngest – he was 23 years, 2 months and 6 days old when he collected his third win of the 2007 season at the Xerox Classic. Michael Sim is now the third-youngest – he was 24 years and 10 months old when he earned his third career win at the Christmas in October Classic on August 23, 2009.

* Earns his “instant promotion” to the PGA TOUR 5 years and 1 day since the last promotion was earned by Michael Sim on August 23, 2007 at the Christmas in October Classic in Overland Park, Kan.

* He is 2-1 this year when holding/sharing the 54-hole lead.

* His winning score of 14-under par is his best of the year:

WinCo Foods Portland Open 14-under WON
El Bosque Mexico Championship 13-under WON
Panama Claro Championship 12-under WON
South Georgia Classic 12-under 3rd (54-hole leader)

* Ortiz’ single-season total of $515,403 currently ranks as the third highest in Tour history.

*Ortiz’ third win comes in his 16th start of the season, which ties the third fastest to earn a promotion in Tour history.

* Ortiz remains solidly at No. 1 on the money, a position he has held since winning the El Bosque Mexico Championship on April 13. He ties Mark Hensby for the fifth longest steak for consecutive weeks at No. 1.

* Ortiz seems to save his best for the difficult courses on Tour.

* Ortiz’ third win of the year brings the total number of wins by players born in Mexico to seven:

Mexico (7)

Keoke Cotner

Esteban Toledo

Alex Aragon (2)

Carlos Ortiz (3)

* There were 24 of the top-25 money winners entered this week and 16 of the 24 advanced to the weekend. Among those missing the cut were Andrew Putnam (No. 2), Zack Sucher (No. 3), Andres Gonzales (No. 8), Jon Curran (No. 9), Derek Fathauer (No. 12), Bill Lunde (No. 22), Roger Sloan (No. 23) and Sebastian Cappelen (No. 25).

* The top-25 money leaders after Sunday’s play received their PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming 2014-15 season. The top-75 money leaders advanced to the four-event Web.com Tour Finals, which begin next week at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind. A second set of 25 PGA TOUR cards will be given at the conclusion of the Tour Championship, the fourth of the four Finals events.

* Bogey-free rounds this week:

R1 63 – Matt Fast; 66 – Byron Smith, Nicholas Lindheim; 69 – David Skinns
R2 65 – Tony Finau; 67 – Peter Tomasulo, Derek Fathauer; 68 – Alex Prugh, Justin Bolli
R3 64 – Jonathan Randolph, Darron Stiles; 65 – Fabian Gomez
R4 69 – Nick Rousey, Jeff Gove; 71 – D.J. Brigman

* Scoring Averages for the week:

Front (36) Back (35) Total (71)
R1 36.308 34.756 71.064
R2 36.335 34.929 71.265
R3 35.333 34.573 69.907
R4 36.387 35.453 71.840
Tot. 36.171 34.898 71.069

* Low rounds of the day:
66 – Glen Day, Jason Gore
67 – Alex Cejka, Ryan Spears

* Eligibility for this week’s field of 156 players correlated directly from the current money list. Cameron Percy, winner of the Price Cutter Charity Championship two weeks ago and No. 13 on the money list, was the only player in the top-25 not playing this week. Five others in the top-75 are also skipped this event – Steve Allan (No. 35), Bronson Burgoon (No. 36), Alistair Presnell (No. 44), Tom Gillis (No. 47) and Aron Price (No. 52).

* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads to the Midwest for the start of the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. The first event will be the Hotel Fitness Championship, which will be held at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, Aug. 25-31. Last year, former Masters champion Trevor Immelman rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to finish at 20-under 268, one stroke better than Patrick Cantlay. Immelman was five strokes back starting the final round and moved to the top thanks to a 6-under 66. The win was his first since capturing the 2008 Masters.

Source: PGA TOUR

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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