COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Grayson Murray won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Sunday and Cameron Smith and Kevin Tway wrapped up PGA Tour cards.
Already guaranteed a PGA Tour card with an 18th-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Murray closed with a 3-under 68 to beat Smith by a stroke in the third of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals. Tway tied for third with third-round leader Martin Flores.
“I want to think this is only the beginning of what could be on the PGA Tour,” Murray said. “I need to keep working really hard and keep going. It’s very, very tough to win out here and I’m going to enjoy this win for sure, but I know the great champions keep working even harder after they get that first win so that’s my plan.”
Murray finished at 12-under 272 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course and earned $180,000 for his first tour victory to jump from 11th to second with $407,963 on the PGA Tour priority list among the 25 card-earners from the Web.com money list. The former Wake Forest and Arizona State player also tops the Web.com Tour Finals money list with $248,000.
“I racked up so many top-10s this year, I was knocking on the door, and I knew if I kept putting myself in position on Sunday it was going to just be a matter of time before I won,” Murray said. “Just credit to everyone around me keeping me positive through those stretches where I did miss the cut this year, and my parents, my swing coach, some mentors back home, just it couldn’t be possible without all them.”
Murray will be 23 on Saturday. He lost in a three-man playoff in August in the Web.com Tour event in Wichita, Kansas.
After Smith made a bogey at the par-4 15th, Murray finished with five pars to close out the tournament.
“Stayed patient all day,” Murray said. “Made a bogey on 8, and that birdie on 10 really got me going on the back nine and made a great couple par saves on the back nine that I was giving myself five, six footers it seemed like every hole on that back nine, but I was confident stroking it well. It’s just a dream scenario, walking up 18 with a one-shot lead.”
Smith also shot a 67. After finishing 157th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cups standings, the Australian made $108,000 to go from 48th to third with $114,910 in the series race for 25 more PGA Tour cards.
“I’m just happy that I’m heading back to the PGA Tour, to be honest,” Smith said. “That was, obviously, the goal through these four weeks and to get it done a week early is definitely a relief.”
Tway had a 67 to match Flores (74) at 10 under. Tway was 27th on the Web.com money list. His $58,000 check moved him from 52nd to ninth with $63,975, more than enough to secure one of the 25 cards. The last PGA Tour card went at $33,650 in 2013, $36,312 in 2014 and $32,206 last year.
Flores earned a card with a fifth-place finish on the Web.com money list. He’s fifth on PGA Tour priority list with $346,313, with regular-season money counting in the total.
Mike Hicks, the late Payne Stewart’s caddie for all three major championships, caddied for Murray.
“It was awesome. We were walking up the fairway, and I said, ‘I hope we can get 10 more years out of you on my bag and just 10 more years of enjoyment,’” Murray said. “Because after Payne Stewart passed away, he’s had good players, but I don’t think he’s really enjoyed his walk like he did with Payne. I’m not trying to compare myself to Payne whatsoever, but I’m really good friends with Mike and his son, and we go back a long way. I hope we can have many more years of enjoyment out on the course.”
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