Former Cowboy Uihlein wins first event of Tour Finals

Photo: Peter Uihlein holds the trophy after winning he Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship held at Ohio State University Golf Club. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Could it be possible that former Oklahoma State All-American Peter Uihlein’s love for baseball led to his victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Sunday afternoon? Earlier this year, Uihlein played in the Shell Houston Open and finished his final round early enough to catch his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, battle their biggest rival, the New York Yankees, in primetime.

Uihlein, who has played the European Tour the past four years, accomplished his goal by carding a final-round 65 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course to beat local favorite Ryan Armour by a stroke. The victory was worth $180,000 and places the 28-year-old from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on top of the Tour Finals money list with three events left.

“I got the last game, Sunday night,” said Uihlein. “Never had that in five years. I’m never home on a Sundaynight after playing a round of golf on a Sunday without making a cut. First time ever, and you kind of like sit back and be like, ‘That’s pretty convenient.’ That kind of hit home a little bit. So I was like, ‘I really kind of want to at least get my PGA TOUR card,’ so I can have moments like that when I can spend a little time at home with my girlfriend and two dogs.”

“This is a proper test,” said Uihlein, referring to the Scarlet Course. “You’ve got to drive the ball well. You’ve got to hit your irons well. And it’s a shame that it rained because that first day was phenomenal for how fast the greens were, how difficult it was. You know, it changed your mindset a little bit; you need to make some birdies. But it’s not a walk in the park.”

Since he turned pro in 2011, Uihlein has flown across the pond to compete in Europe and Asia. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy had the credentials to play on TOUR, being a two-time All-American and 2010 United States Amateur champion, but chose to head overseas.

“All of a sudden, my first event as a pro, I end up on a plane to India,” said Uihlein. “You go there for the first time, really not leaving the country very rarely, and all of a sudden you go to India, totally different. It’s a different world, different cultures. Just a different environment. You get to see things I never would have seen if I didn’t leave America.”

Uihlein arrived in Columbus at No. 12 in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He has enjoyed success outside the U.S. with a win at the Madeira Islands Open along with being named the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. On Saturday, he talked about wanting the chance to become a global player, and this winter he’s going to get the opportunity.

“There are so many good events now in Europe,” said Uihlein, who has made 114 starts on the European Tour. “It’s really tough. I got to sit down and look at both schedules. I just don’t know. I don’t know next year’s schedule in Europe. I haven’t looked at the PGA TOUR schedule. Right now, I don’t know where I’m going to be playing, but I’m going to try and do both and see what happens.”

Former Oklahoma Sooner Abraham Ancer shot 10-under and finished fifth, while former Cowboy Talor Goch shot 2-under and tied for 24th. Both have earned their PGA Tour cards for 2018 and are playing for improved positioning. Taylor Moore of Edmond, who needs a top-25 finish in the finals to earn his card, tied for 31st a 1 under. Former Tulsan Tag Ridings, coming off the PGA Tour, tied for 50th.
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Ken MacLeod

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