Tim Wilkinson's web.com victory hopes dashed

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:14 06/05/2013
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STRONG SHOWING: Tim Wilkinson is project to climb to 11th on the web.com Tour money-list.

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Manawatu golfer Tim Wilkinson's hopes of a potentially career-changing victory in the United States have been dashed without a club being swung today.

Wilkinson entered the fourth round of the Stadion Classic on the second-tier Web.com Tour today in second place at seven-under par, just one shot off the lead and poised to make a final day charge.

But the weather gods were against him, persistent heavy rain that left the University of Georgia Golf Club course waterlogged forcing tournament organisers to cancel the final round.

The standings after the third round are now final, with American Brendon Todd awarded the trophy and the all-important winner's cheque for $US99,000 for his eight-under par total of 205. Wilkinson was second, with American Nick Rousey third at six-under.

A win on the highly competitive Web.com Tour goes a long way to securing a spot in the top-25 on the money list at season's end and the fulltime playing rights for the top-tier PGA Tour, so in that sense Wilkinson will be bitterly disappointed not to have had the opportunity to win today.

But the good news is he has bolted inside the top-25, projected to move into 11th place following his fourth top-15 finish in five starts this season.

The 34-year-old missed the first three tournaments of the season - in South America -  as he couldn't leave Florida because his Green Card hadn't come through, but he's more than made up for the late start during the past few weeks.

Fellow Kiwi Josh Geary finished tied for 27th at one-over par while Danny Lee was tied for 37th at two-over maintaining his place inside the top-25 at No 17 on the money list.

Meanwhile, New Zealand professional Pieter Zwart of Waipukurau has come from one shot behind to claim the Papua New Guinea Open title.

Zwart’s final round of six-under par was good enough for a 15-under par total and a two-shot victory over third round leader Lincoln Tighe, while another Australian, Peter Martin, finished third on 11-under.

Zwart made an impressive chip-in birdie on the 17th hole which turned out to be the crucial shot on the way to victory.

“It was one of those shots that you dream about when you practise, but to pull it off when a championship is on the line is unbelievable,” Zwart said.

“It is a pleasure to now be known as the national champion of Papua New Guinea. This victory has no doubt set me up for the year and I look forward to defending the title in 12 months' time."

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With his win, Zwart will be exempt into almost every Pro-Am played across Australia for the next year, while also gaining Category 14 status on the Australasian tour, giving him number of starts later in the year.

Elsewhere, Mike Hendry was the only New Zealander to make the cut at the China Open in Tianjin, but he struggled at the weekend and finished in a tie for 55th.

The New Zealand No 1 closed with successive rounds of three-over par 75, having catapulted up the leaderboard following a five-under 67 in the second round.

He finished at three-over par for the tournament, 19 shots behind the winner, Australian Brett Rumford, who was a four-shot victor at 16-under after closing with a four-under 68. Finland's Mikko Ilonen (12-under) was second with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson third, at 11-under.

It was Rumford's second win in as many weeks, following his victory at the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea last week.

Kiwis Mark Brown and Gareth Paddison failed to make the cut, as did David Smail at The Crowns tournament on the Japan Tour. He had rounds of 75 and 79 for a 14-over tally to comfortably fall short of a pay cheque this week.

- Stuff

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