(Panama Championship recap done by Royce Thompson, January 31, 2016, pulled from www.pgatour/web.com for full story visit here)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Even a three-putt bogey on the 72nd hole couldn’t diminish what Ryan Armour accomplished on Sunday in Panama City. The 39-year-old Jupiter, Fla., resident fired a final-round 6-under-par 64, posted 12-under 268 and earned his maiden Web.com Tour victory at the Panama Claro Championship.
Armour hoisted up a beautiful trophy and the ceremony and collected a first-place prize of $112,500 to get a jumpstart on the season-long race for the top spot on the money list.
PANAMA CLARO: Scores | Winner’s bag
“It’s awesome,” said Armour about his first win in his 217th start on Tour. “I was getting a little choked up coming down the stretch thinking about how many times I was in contention and didn’t close the deal.”
“Luckily today I got so far ahead that the three putt on the 18th hole didn’t matter,” Armour continued. “It’s an unbelievable relief, unbelievable ecstasy to get this ‘W’ and get this season going right.”
Kyle Thompson pressed Armour down the stretch on Sunday and finished solo second after 4-under 66 placed him at 9-under.
Martin Flores (66) and third-round leader Curtis Thompson (70) tied for third at 8-under-par.
In a share of fifth was PGA TOUR veteran Jonathan Byrd (65) and Austin Cook (67).
Armour made some noise early in the final round when he made a 25-foot bomb for birdie on the third hole. Next up was the par-5, fourth and the former Ohio State Buckeye made eagle after he “flushed” his second shot, a 3-iron from 219 yards, to six feet.
“I hit it good on the front,” said Armour, who went out in 31. “I just felt relaxed with my golf swing. I was hitting it good and I had control of my ball flight in this wind, which was important.”
Armour made things interesting on the back nine, playing what he called “army golf”. Despite missing it both ways off the tee coming in he was still able to add birdies at the 12th, 14th and 17th hole thanks to his putting.
“It got a little dicey,” said Armour who made a 45-foot putt for birdie on the 17th hole. “I hit it good on the front, average on the back. The putter bailed me out on the back.”
Sunday’s triumph has been years in the making for Armour. The 17-year pro has played mini tours and bounced back and forth between the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour all without tasting victory. After signing some flags for the tournament, Armour asked a Tour official to take a photo of him with the trophy to send to his wife, Erin, so she could show their two children, Patrick and Nicholas, that their father won a golf tournament.
“It validates it,” said Armour, when asked what this victory does for his career. “I’ve always been a grinder and this cements that I can get it done over four rounds. It was very satisfying to get it done.”
Thompson was greenside to watch Armour finish up. He could barely hold his excitement in and embraced Armour as he walked off the 18th green.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Thompson about his runner-up finish. “I’m satisfied and I just got beat today. Ryan played incredible golf and I couldn’t be happier for him. This is his first Tour win and he’s one of my best friends.”
* Sunday weather: High of 92 and windy in the afternoon.
* This week’s purse is $625,000 with $112,500 going to the winner.
* Armour earns first career win in his 217th start on Tour and his ninth appearance in Panama. In eight previous appearances he made six cuts and recorded four top-25 performances including a T2 (2012) and a solo third. (2004).
* Armour wins at age 39 years 11 months 4 days.
* Armour holds the course record at Panama GC (62 – 2011).
About Ryan Armour
FULL NAME: Ryan Patrick Armour
HEIGHT/ WEIGHT: 5-9/170
BIRTHDATE: February 27, 1976
BIRTHPLACE: Akron, Ohio
RESIDENCE: Jupiter, Florida
FAMILY: Wife, Erin; Patrick David, Nicholas John
EDUCATION: Ohio State University (1999, Communications)
TURNED PROFESSIONAL: 1999
JOINED TOUR: 2004
* Wesley Bryan carded a 2-under 68 playing alongside Ryan Armour on Sunday to record a T7 in his Tour debut.
*There is one player in the field this week that gained eligibility from the 2015 Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series Order of Merit:
No. 1 OOM Bryden Macpherson 70-71-68-74 T56
* Four of the top five players from the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit (OOM) are in the field this week:
No. 1 OOM J.J. Spaun 69-72-72-69 T62
No. 2 OOM C.T. Pan 72-78 CUT
No. 3 OOM Taylor Pendrith 74-69 CUT
No. 5 OOM Jason Millard WD
* The top five players from the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit (OOM) are in the field this week:
No. 1 OOM Rodolfo Cazaubón 76-69 CUT
No. 2 OOM Kent Bulle 71-70-67-72 T36
No. 3 OOM Rafa Campos 68-73-72-69 T36
No. 4 OOM Alex Rocha 77-65-67-72 T41
No. 5 OOM Tommy Cocha 69-73-73–71 T70
R1 – John Merrick (65), Martin Flores (65), Scott Harrington (67).
R2 – Wesley Bryan (65), Kyle Jones (69)
R3 – Greg Eason (62), Ryan Armour (65), Jonathan Fricke (66), Adam Svensson (66), Len Mattaice (68)
R4 – Jonathan Byrd (65)
* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour goes to Bogota, Colombia for the Club Colombia Championship presented by Claro. Last year Patrick Rodgers shot a bogey-free, 6-under 65 in the final round to erase a four-stroke deficit and force overtime with Steve Marino. Both players birdied the 72nd hole and finished at 17-under at the end of regulation. With more rain in the forecast and darkness looming, the playoff did not take place at the par-5, 18th hole. Instead officials elected to use a rotation of the par-3 12th and the par-4 ninth holes for convenience and proximity. Rodgers rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Marino at the weather-delayed event to earn his first professional win.