Matt Bettencourt captures Reno Open for first PGA win

Reno: American Matt Bettencourt closed with a four-under 68 to beat Bob Heintz by one stroke and capture his first PGA Tour victory at the three million dollar Reno-Tahoe Open.

Bettencourt’s compatriot Heintz, who doesn’t play on the Tour, missed a three-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole with a chance to force a playoff.

“I will take it anyway I can,” Bettencourt said on Sunday. “I hate to see someone miss like that at the end but at same time I felt I played well enough all week to win.”

Bettencourt made a bogey at the final hole after finding two bunkers.

Bettencourt putted for eagle on the par-five No. 11 and rolled in a birdie putt on 17 en route to finishing at 11-under 277 at the Montreux Golf and Country Club course.

John Merrick and Sweden’s Mathias Gronberg each shot 69 and tied for third at nine-under.

Germany’s Alex Cejka shot a 68 and was part of a group of five golfers who finished three shots adrift of Bettencourt at eight-under.

Bettencourt, who played in the same group as Heintz, won over a depleted field with most of the world’s top golfers in Europe for the British Open.

Heintz for example began the week attempting to qualify for a Nationwide Tour event before being told to get on a plane to play in the Reno Open.

Bettencourt may not have had a win before but he has posted good performances on the PGA Tour, finishing in a tie for 10th in last year’s US Open.

“It has been a stressfull year,” he said.

On the 636-yard, par-five 17th, Bettencourt hit his second shot into a bunker but blasted out to five feet and rolled in the birdie to get to 12-under. That put him two strokes up on Heintz, who made an eight-foot birdie putt on the 17th to set up the drama on the final hole.

American Scott McCarron started the day with a one-stroke lead over John Mallinger and Robert Garrigus. But he stumbled to the finish and ended up in a a tie for 35th. His Sunday round included five bogeys and two double bogeys en route to an embarrassing 81.

Mallinger had troubles of his own as the final trio all shot over par Sunday. Mallinger had a quadruple-bogey nine on the 616-yard ninth. He shot 77 and finished in a tie for 21st.

Bureau Report