Rhein Gibson will return to the PGA TOUR in 2020 a more accomplished and well-rounded player after breaking through for his maiden win on the Web.com Tour at a rain-shortened BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina.
Persistent rain meant that Sunday’s third round would be the tournament’s final one, Gibson coming from two strokes back to win by three courtesy of a bogey-free round of 8-under 63 to record the most significant win of his professional career.
A professional since 2010, prior to this week Gibson’s main claim to fame was the 16-under 55 he shot at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma in 2012 that earned him a place in the Guinness World Records.
In 170 prior events that attract Official World Golf Ranking points Gibson had never broken through for a win of significance, two top-five finishes in 2015 on the Web.com Tour earning promotion to the PGA TOUR the following year.
With three top-10 finishes already this season Gibson’s win will almost certainly secure a return to golf’s richest tour, rocketing into seventh position on the moneylist and with one hand on one of the 25 Tour cards that will be handed out at the end of the regular season.
"I've definitely put myself in some opportunities before to win, but it just didn't go my way on Sunday," Gibson said.
"It was good to get in the hunt again and actually close it out with a bogey-free round.
“If someone shot 9 (under) and beat me, I'd still be pretty happy with 8 (under)."
The 33-year-old who hails from Lismore in northern New South Wales finished 199th in the FedEx Cup in 2016 to lose his status and hopes to use this win to start forging an identity beyond his extraordinary round of seven years ago.
"That (55) was very sweet, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to be known just for the 55," Gibson said.
"It was good to validate that with a good win today and especially on television.
“I know what I've been doing is correct and I'm glad to see it pay off."
In 20 starts on the PGA TOUR in 2016 Gibson made 11 cuts with a best finish of a tie for 25th at the Barracuda Championship but believes he is much better-equipped to make more of an impression next year.
“That’s awesome,” Gibson said when told his win would secure a PGA TOUR return.
“I think I’m a more well-rounded player all round. I didn’t get many opportunities the year that I did have my card but really looking forward to getting back out there.
“I kind of know what to expect now and ready for round two.”
A second round of 62 was the highlight for New Zealand’s Steven Alker who finished tied for 43rd while Brett Drewitt finalised his preparations for his major championship debut at the US Open in a tie for 52nd at 9-under par.
Kiwi Danny Lee was the pick of the small Australasian contingent at the RBC Canadian Open, an opening round of 5-under 65 giving him a platform from which to finish tied for 20th.
A final round of 9-under 61 saw Rory McIlroy record his 16th PGA TOUR title in a manner few players can match, finishing seven shots clear of Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
Rod Pampling was the only Aussie to play all four rounds to break a streak of 13 missed cuts, four straight rounds of 1-under 69 earning him a tie for 35th, his best finish on the PGA TOUR since the RBC Heritage more than 12 months ago.
BMW Charity Pro-Am
Thornblade Club, South Carolina
1 Rhein Gibson 66-64-63—193 $US126,000
T43 Steven Alker 73-62-69—204 $2,236
T52 Brett Drewitt 65-71-69—205 $1,876
MC Tim Wilkinson 70-70—140
MC Jamie Arnold 70-71—141
MC Min Woo Lee 74-68—142
MC Brett Coletta 74-74—148
WD Cameron Percy 69
RBC Canadian Open
Hamilton Golf and Country Club, Ontario
T20 Danny Lee 65-72-67-69—273 $US79,257
T35 Rod Pampling 69-69-69-69—276 $34,327
MC Curtis Luck 71-68—139
MC Cameron Davis 73-71—144
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