Zack Sucher wins Midwest Classic in Overland Park

Zack Sucher
Zack Sucher

Zack Sucher can breathe a sigh of relief.

With his win in the Midwest Classic on Sunday at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park, Sucher moved into fourth place on the Tour’s money list and wrapped up a PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season beginning in October.

“I’m just glad I’m headed to the PGA Tour finally. I can stop worrying about it,” he said after winning his first Tour tournament.

Sucher shot 1-over-par 72 in the final round and finished at 19-under 265, but the win didn’t come easily.

Sucher, 27, from Birmingham, Ala., entered Sunday’s final round with a 3-stroke lead at 20-under par, but it didn’t last long. Sucher bogeyed the first two holes and then couldn’t find a way to distance himself from Aaron Watkins, a former Kansas State golfer.

Watkins, 32, pulled within 1 shot of the lead at 18-under with birdies on No. 5 and 6 before making a bogey on No. 9. Suchar then made bogeys on the first two holes of the back nine, leaving the pair tied for the lead at 17-under through 11 holes. Sucher regained the lead with a birdie on No. 13.

A few golfers came within a couple strokes of Watkins and Sucher, but the wind prevented anyone else from going on a serious run.

“We didn’t think it was just the two of us until I was on No. 16 green and my caddie said, ‘It’s match-play now. You and Watkins are going,’ ” Sucher said.

They played close through the rest of the round but Watkins never found a way to catch Sucher again.

Watkins bogeyed No. 18 for a round of 72 and a total of 16-under 268.

“I was just telling my caddie walking up that I would have taken second at the beginning of the week,” Watkins said. “I gave it all I could today with the wind, but it just didn’t pan out.”

With the win, Sucher received $108,000, giving him $247,318 in earnings this season. He was ranked 20th heading into the Midwest Classic.

A total of 50 players on the Tour will earn PGA Tour cards at the end of the season, including the top 25 players on the money list at the end of the regular season and the top 25 finishers in the season’s final four tournaments.

With his second-place finish, Watkins earned $64,800 and is now No. 31 on the money list with $94,583 for the season.

Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle, who is trying to earn his way back onto the PGA Tour after his second bout with leukemia in 2012, sat in a three-way tie for 23rd place at 9-under entering Sunday in his first tournament on U.S. soil in more than two years. He shot a 2-under 69 in the final round and finished for place at 273.

“The body’s held up well,” he said. “I’m going to look forward to sitting down, but I feel really good.”

After the first round, Lyle said he was just happy to be playing again and his main goal was to make it through four days of golf.

“I would give myself an A, I would, probably an A-minus,” he said when asked how he would grade the week he had.

“A couple of little areas that could be improved but in golf there’s always something that needs improving.

“I think, overall, I’m ecstatic to play. It’s gone better than expected.”

Lyle will take a couple of days off and play a few practice rounds before playing in the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield.

Korbin Kuehn, a former UMKC golfer and Blue Valley West graduate, shot 79 in the final round and finished at 1-over 285.