Wheatcroft wins Boise Open in playoff

Staff Reports

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Stan Badz / PGA TOUR
Washington native Steve Wheatcroft finished strong Sunday with three birdies over his final five holes to force a playoff against Steve Alker at the Tour Boise Open. Wheatcroft birdied the first hole of the playoff for the victory in Boise.

BOISE, ID – Washington native and Trinity High School graduate Steve Wheatcroft earned his first victory in three seasons in dramatic fashion Sunday, defeating Steven Alker in a playoff to win the Tour’s Albertson’s Boise Open.

Wheatcroft, who entered the day in third place, shot a 6-under-par 65 in the final round to finish the tournament at 24-under. Alker, the third-round leader, shot a 67 over the final 18 holes to match him.

The playoff came on the 18th hole, one both players had parred a few minutes before. Wheatcroft sunk a 10-foot putt to score a birdie, while Alker parred the hole again.

Wheatcroft last won an event in 2011 when he finished atop the leaderboard at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open, which was on the Nationwide Tour, which has since changed its name to the Tour.

He spent the 2012 season on the PGA Tour, but failed to qualify for that tour again in 2013 and returned to the Tour.

The 36-year-old Wheatcroft struggled in 2013, finishing 60th in the money standings on the Tour at $85,394 in winnings.

Those struggles continued into this season before this weekend’s tournament. He won $144,000 for his first-place finish and moved to 11th in the overall money standings at $179,365 this season.

Alker took home $86.400 for the second-place finish.

The top 25 players in earnings on the Tour automatically qualify to rejoin in the PGA Tour.

“This is unbelievable. I’m just speechless,” Wheatcroft told reporters. “I’ve been playing so badly this year that I thought I might be done. I lost all belief.”

Justin Thomas, who shot a 65 Sunday, finished alone in third place at 22-under.

Wheatcroft started strong Sunday and grabbed a 2-stroke lead after player the sixth hole. But Alker birdied the ninth and 10th holes and Wheatcroft bogeyed 12 and 13 to give Alker a 2-stroke lead.

Wheatcroft rallied with birdies on 14 and 15 to tie the score.

“Walking to 14 I way trying not to hang my head,” Wheatcroft told reporters about his back-to-back bogeys. “It was a good lesson going forward. I had to get back in the mindset to make birdies because out here nobody is going backwards.”

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