BROUSSARD, La. (March 29, 2015) – Rhein Gibson spoke last week about needing a performance that would put his inaugural season on the Web.com Tour back on track. He found what he was looking for during the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
The Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Famer shot an even-par 71 in the final round on Sunday to tie for second at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club, his best finish since joining the tour earlier this year.
Gibson, a 29-year-old native of Australia who now lives in Edmond, led the tournament after the first two rounds and was ahead by two shots with seven holes to play on Sunday, but a sizzling birdie-birdie-birdie-par finish by Kelly Kraft allowed him to catch and pass Gibson at the wire. Kraft’s 65 on Sunday left him at 14-under-par 270, one shot ahead of Gibson and D.H. Lee, who closed with a 63.
Gibson put himself atop the leaderboard with a first-round 62, which matched the third-lowest opening round in the Louisiana Open’s 24-year history. His 68 on Friday kept him in first place and after a 70 on Saturday, he entered the final round trailing Rick Cochran III by one shot.
Cochran played himself out of contention with a 73, and Gibson looked to be in control after recording birdies on three of his first seven holes to move to 16-under for the tournament. A bogey on No. 8 left him to make the turn at 2-under, still in decent shape.
But Gibson bogeyed a pair of par-4 holes, No. 13 and No. 14, leaving enough of an opening for Kraft (the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion) to seize the lead with his stellar finish. Gibson missed birdie chances on his final two holes, including a 15-foot putt on No. 18.
"I knew what I had to do coming in," Gibson said. "I had some chances and didn’t convert."
Still, by finishing second, Gibson earned $48,400 and jumped from 53rd on the tour’s money list to 13th, with $71,500 through six events. The top 25 finishers on that list during the tour’s 21-event regular season will receive PGA Tour cards for 2016. Last year, the No. 25 player on the list earned $146,836.
Gibson now has a pair of top-10 finishes on tour in 2015, having finished sixth in the season-opening Panama Claro Championship. The tour will take a three-week break before resuming April 16-19 with the El Bosque Mexico Championship in Leon, Mexico.
While at OC, Gibson won four individual tournament titles while helping the Eagles to a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place team showings at the NAIA Championship. Shortly after his graduation in 2008, he won the Oklahoma state amateur title and was named as the Oklahoma state amateur player of the year in 2008.
He’s most famous for a memorable round in May 2012 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City, during which he set a world scoring record by shooting a 55. He also qualified for last year’s British Open and played in a memorable third-round grouping with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.