Las Vegas native Piercy perseveres to Reno-Tahoe Open victory

RENO -- Scott Piercy could only think of one word when he rolled in a 7-foot putt for par on the final hole at the Reno-Tahoe Open to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour.

"Finally," Piercy said Sunday after squandering a three-stroke lead, then dodging more trouble down the stretch to beat Pat Perez by one stroke at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.

"It kind of feels like I got the monkey off the back," said the 32-year-old Las Vegas native, whose best previous finish in his three years on the tour was a tie for sixth at the Honda Classic in 2009.

"I've been in the final group five times, I think, and didn't close the deal," he said. "I always thought I could do it, and it was just a matter of doing it. Now I did it ... A big sigh of relief."

His final round of 2-under-par 70 to finish at 15-under 273 didn't come without some drama.

A day after setting the course record with a 61, he had to scramble his way around the 7,472-yard mountain layout to claim the $540,000 winner's check.

Piercy, a Bonanza High School graduate, picked up where he left off Saturday with a birdie on the first hole and closed out the front nine where he shot an 8-under 28 the day before with two more birdies to make the turn with a three-stroke lead at 16 under.

He still led by three through No. 11, but Perez birdied the par-4 12th and par-5 13th. Piercy then bogeyed the 365-yard, par-4 14th when he tried to drive the green, hit a cart path and bounced 30 yards left.

Tied with two holes left, Perez gave a stroke back with a bogey on the par-4 17th, missing an 8-footer for par. Piercy hit his drive 387 yards on the 616-yard downhill closing hole, but it ran into the sagebrush.

After helping his playing partner, Josh Teater, look for his errant drive in sage on the other side of the fairway for more than five minutes, Piercy knocked his ball out safely, then pitched onto the green about 30 feet from the pin.

Needing only a two-putt to win, he sent his first attempt 7 feet past the hole before wobbling in the winner.

"Yeah, 30 feet and two-putting is not as easy as it looks sometimes," said Piercy, who started the week ranked 142nd on the money list with $365,162 but now will see his earnings approach $1 million for the second time.

"I had one little hiccup and just played solid from there," he said about the lone bogey. "Coming down the stretch, you know, making pars is sometimes as good as making birdies."

Piercy, the first native Nevadan to win the 13-year-old tournament, also locked up a spot in this week's PGA Championship.

"We had vacation planned next week. Now I've got to cancel," he said jokingly.

Perez shot a 68 to finish at 274, his third runner-up finish to go with one career victory on the tour.

Steve Flesch, who won the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open, shot 68 and Blake Adams 69 to tie for third, two strokes back.

n CHAMPIONS -- At Blaine, Minn., Jay Haas stood on the 18th green needing a two-putt to win. He stood over his putt and backed away.

Then he did it again.

He finally two-putted from about 30 feet for birdie to win the 3M Championship, beating Tom Lehman, Kenny Perry and Peter Senior by one shot. It was his first tour victory in two years.

Haas shot a final-round 68 and finished at 15-under 201.