RENO — Andrew Putnam won the Barracuda Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, holding off Chad Campbell, a former UNLV star, by four points in the modified Stableford scoring event.
Putnam closed with a 22-foot birdie putt from off the front of the green on the par-5 18th when a bogey would have been enough for the breakthrough victory at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
“My only thought going up to that ball was: ‘Knock this thing in. Just get it over with,’ ” Putnam said. “You never know how it’s going to come out of the fringe. And it rolled perfectly.”
He earned $612,000, a two-year tour exemption and spots next week in the PGA Championship at Bellerive and next year at Kapalua.
“One of the things I first thought about was getting to play in the Tournament of Champions in Maui because our family, we vacation there every year pretty much for my whole life,” Putnam said.
The 29-year-old from Tacoma, Washington, won in his 49th tour start, scoring nine points Sunday and 47 overall under the format that awards eight points for albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie and zero for par, and subtracts a point for bogey and three for double bogey or worse.
“This was an incredible week,” Putnam said. “We came here and we’re staying at Incline Village. And it’s such a beautiful spot. And so cool to have my wife and my parents here. One of my friends flew in last night. And, yeah, just a dream week for me.”
He jumped from 55th to 31st in the FedEx Cup standings.
“The ultimate goal for the year is to get to the FedEx Cup championship,” Putnam said. “And coming into this week I felt I had a good chance to possibly win. I’ve been playing really well. And I knew I needed some more points to jump up on that FedEx Cup leaderboard. And happy to get the win and get that much closer.”
Campbell birdied the 18th for an 11-point day. The 44-year-old Texan won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2007. He went from 161st to 126th in the FedEx Cup race, with the top 125 after the Wyndham Championship in two weeks keeping their cards and earning playoff spots.
“These last two days felt really good,” Campbell said. “Didn’t putt quite as well today, but definitely happy with the way I played. Obviously, disappointed I wasn’t able to finish it off, but it happens. Definitely moving in the right direction.”
He squandered a big chance to add points when he missed a 5-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th.
“Not to capitalize on that really hurt,” Campbell said. “Hit it right where I wanted and it just didn’t turn. Shane (Lowry) had a putt on kind of the same line that broke off. And that was the read we had all along. So felt I had a pretty good putt, it just didn’t turn.”
Ex-Rebel tied for 3rd
Monday qualifier John Oda, a former UNLV player, tied for third with J.J. Spaun with 38 points. Oda earned a spot in the Wyndham Championship with the top-10 finish.
First-round leader Ollie Schniederjans closed with an eagle to finish fifth with 36 points.
William McGirt was another point back after a 20-point round.
Sam Saunders, three points behind playing partner Putnam entering the day, lost a point Sunday to tie for seventh at 34. Saunders is Arnold Palmer’s grandson.