Watney happily wed to sixth in Shriners Open

Nick Watney will be getting married Saturday, so he decided to give himself and his fiancee a nice early wedding gift Sunday.

The Henderson resident finished tied for sixth place at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and his check for $149,425 will help pay for the wedding in Carmel, Calif., and the honeymoon in Tahiti.

"I’m very pleased," Watney said after his bogey-free round of 5-under-par 66 gave him a four-day total of 265. "To have no bogeys today with the course playing tough, I’m very happy with my week."

Watney had just three bogeys all week, and at 19-under late in his round, he still was flirting with the top of the leaderboard.

"That was a little surprising," he said. "I thought it would take something in the high 20s to win, and to be right there at 19-under, that wasn’t something I expected. But the course firmed up a bit, and it was a little bit windy, though not as bad as I’ve seen it. It played a little more like it usually does."

Watney said despite the nice payday, he has no plans to upgrade either the wedding or the honeymoon.

"We’re pretty much locked in," he said.

HE’S AN ACE — In addition to Jonathan Byrd’s hole-in-one on the fourth hole of sudden death that gave him the title, Chris Tidland made a hole-in-one at the par-3 17th Sunday to highlight his closing round of 68. Tidland, who finished tied for 37th, used a 6-iron for his ace, the second one registered this week. Webb Simpson also had a hole-in-one Thursday at No. 8.

CAMPBELL FINISHES STRONG — Former UNLV star Chad Campbell bounced back from his third-round 72 with a 4-under 67 Sunday, finishing tied for 28th at 271. Chris Riley, who also had a tough time Saturday with a 1-over 73, rallied Sunday with a 68 to finish tied for 58th at 276.

Warren Schutte, the third former UNLV player to make it to the weekend, finished with a 1-under 70 Sunday for a four-day total of 282. Schutte ended up in a tie for 71st place.

GOOD CROWD — According to tournament director Adam Sperling, Sunday’s crowd was just short of 5,000 and well above last year’s attendance of 3,800 for the final round.

"We’re thrilled," he said. "We were hoping for 5,000, and we didn’t miss it by much. And with the finish we had, I’m not complaining."

KODAK CHALLENGE — Troy Merritt finished tied for 50th Sunday. But that was secondary to the fact that he’s a week away from earning $1 million after he took the lead in the Kodak Challenge.

The Kodak Challenge is a yearlong competition in which players get points for scoring at a designated hole each week on Tour. A player has to play a minimum of 18 events to qualify. If Merritt can hold off Rickie Fowler and Aaron Baddeley at the season finale in two weeks at the Childrens Miracle Network in Florida, he’ll capture the $1 million prize. Merritt leads in the standings at 17 under par with Fowler and Baddeley at 16 under.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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