Sunday, March 11, 2012
Paul Haley II wins Chile Classic
SANTIAGO, Chile -- Paul Haley II won the Chile Classic in his third career Nationwide Tour start, closing with a 1-under 71 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory.
The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech player shot 64 on Friday and Saturday to take a six-shot lead into the final round. He finished at 22-under 266 and earned $108,000 in the inaugural event.
"I expected to come out here and play well, but nobody expects to win in their third professional start," Haley said. "This is awesome."
Joseph Bramlett shot a 64 to finish second at Prince of Wales Country Club.
Paul Claxton was another stroke back after a 68.
Haley missed all but one fairway in his first 12 holes.
"I felt like if I could just hit a fairway I'd be OK," Haley said. "I was hitting my irons fairly well and my putter felt great all day. I figured if I could somehow get a ball in the fairway, the birdies would eventually come."
Haley found the fairway on the par-4 12th and made a 6-foot birdie putt to widen the lead to three, then hit the fairway on the par-4 14th and holed a 12-footer for birdie to push his advantage to four strokes.
"The course setup was the hardest of the week and other than Joseph, nobody was going crazy low on the front nine," Haley said. "I didn't look to see how things were until 14. I wanted to know what I had to do to get it in."
A bogey on the par-3 15th cut the lead to three, and he parred the final three holes.
At the 506-yard, par-5 18th, Haley took the safe route after finding another fairway.
"I had only 195 yards to the flag and I laid up with a pitching wedge," he said. "At that point, it was just 'Don't do anything stupid. Just hit a wedge and a wedge.' I had four putts to win, which was pretty nice.
"I played incredible golf for 72 holes. My putter was the key all week. When that last one went in, it was just euphoria. I'm always going to remember my first trip to this great country."