Jul 23, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Seven long years after he last climbed to the top of a leaderboard, Tom Scherrer did so again — and might have punched his ticket back to the PGA Tour in the process.
The Skaneateles native used four blistering rounds of golf to claim the title at last week’s Nationwide Tour Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo., and claim the first prize of $108,000.
Not only did Scherrer win, he did so with the lowest 72-hole total on the Nationwide Tour this season — 262, 26 under par on the par-72 Highland Springs Country Club layout, four shots ahead of runner-up Franklin Langham.
Scherrer had not won since 2000, when he claimed his only PGA Tour title at the now-defunct Kemper Open in suburban Washington, D.C., during his second season on the country’s main golf circuit.
That win helped Scherrer stay exempt until 2002. A year later, low earnings forced him to go back to the Nationwide Tour, where he had played from 1994 to ’98. During this second stint, he toiled for 3 1/2 seasons without finding that winning touch again.
Going to Springfield, Scherrer was 62nd on the Nationwide money list for 2007. At year’s end, the top 25 money-winners gain PGA Tour cards, so if Scherrer wanted to get back to the big stage, he needed a win somewhere.
Right from the start, birdies would be required, and Scherrer met the challenge, posting an opening-round 66 at Highland Springs Country Club on Thursday, which made him feel much more confident going into Friday, which just happened to be his 37th birthday.
It turned out to be quite a party.
Playing perhaps the best golf of his career, Scherrer blistered Highland Springs for a 63, the capper coming on the par-three 13th hole, where he put an iron straight into the cup for a hole-in-one. He also had an eagle on the par-five 18th as part of a back-nine 30.
Now in front at 129, 15 under par, Scherrer refused to let up. He got through the third round with another 66 to set the 54-hole tournament record at 195 and open up a three-shot lead over Langham, another one-time PGA Tour player trying to get back his card.
Early in the last round, Langham charged at Scherrer, stringing together five birdies for a 31 to cut the margin to one.
Langham cooled off, though, with bogeys on 10, 12 and 14 as Scherrer built his lead back to three, then sealed it with two more birdies at 15 and 18.
That $108,000 moved Scherrer up 48 spots on the money list, to 14th, with $155,969. There are 13 events left on the Nationwide schedule, plenty of chances for other players to move up, so Scherrer can’t rest on his total if he wants to stay within the top 25.