McLachlin nabs first PGA Tour win by seven strokes in Reno

RENO, Nev. -- Parker McLachlin has won golf tournaments on the Hooters Tour, Tight Lies Tour, Gateway Tour and Spanos Tour.

He added the biggest and best tour of them all to the list Sunday, with a seven-stroke victory at the PGA Tour's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.

It wasn't as easy as the final margin looked.

The 29-year-old UCLA product in his second year on tour began the final round with a six-shot lead over Brian Davis after tying the course record of 62 on Friday and setting a 54-hole mark of 20-under par at the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club.

He extended it to seven after three holes Sunday, but the nerves tightened when he saw it shrink to four with seven holes to play before escaping trouble several times down the stretch and dropping a 15-foot putt on the 18th for his lone birdie in a 2-over 74 to finish the tourney at 18-under 270.

"It was a hard fought day. I was fortunate to have that big cushion because I needed it," McLachlin said. "It feels like it has been a lifetime coming. It has been a dream of mine since I was about 12."

Davis and John Rollins tied for second at 11-under 277.

"Brian was putting the heat on and I was feeling it," McLachlin said. "It was not my best ball striking day but it really brought out my short game and just my heart. I just had to gut it out and sometimes that's what you have to do to get the job done."

England's Davis trailed by only four strokes with five holes to go but had a double bogey and two bogeys down the stretch to shoot a 75. A shot back tied for fourth were Martin Laird (66), Harrison Frazar (69), Eric Axley (69) and Ryan Palmer (70).

"I'm hugely disappointed," said Davis, who realized McLachlin was struggling.

"I always knew on the back nine it was going to be tough. I've been there before. I got a couple up on him then I got unlucky. I got a plug lie in the bunker and made double on 14 and that was it then, it was gone."

McLachlin hit only one of his first 10 greens -- only five for the round Sunday -- but relied on his wedge and putter to save par at least 10 times, including a 12-footer after he had driven into the rough behind large pine trees on the par-4 fifth and a 9-footer after blasting out of a greenside bunker on the sixth.

"When everything else fails, I have 100 percent confidence I'm going to make putts and today everything else failed," he said. "That's how I've gutted it out throughout my career and that's what I did today."

Davis cut the lead to four when he chipped in out of a bunker on the par-5 11th to get to 15-under and McLachlin missed a 6-foot birdie attempt.

The leader was in trouble again on the par-3 12th when his tee shot went in a waste area 20 yards right and short of the green but again managed to chip out of the pine needles to within 15 feet and make the putt. He also chipped out of a greenside bunker on No. 13 to 8 feet then rolled it in.

His lead grew to six again when Davis double-bogeyed after he took two shots to get out of a bunker at No. 14, while McLachlin two-putted for par from 12 feet.

McLachlin's drive hit a tree and landed in a pond on the 636-yard, par-5 17th, but his 200-yard fourth shot made the back of the green and he two-putted from 60 feet for a bogey. He birdied No. 18 to join four others who claimed their first PGA wins at Reno -- Notah Begay III (1998), Chris Riley (2002), Vaughn Taylor (2004) and Will MacKenzie (2006).

The closest McLachlin had come to winning on the PGA Tour before was a tie for fifth in May at the AT&T Classic.

With the top 50 golfers in the world playing at the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio, McLachlin entered the week ranked 98th on the money list, but the $540,000 first-place check at Reno gives him $1.28 million on the year to move up to 53rd on the money list, 47th in FedExCup points. It also ensures him a spot in next week's PGA Championship, his first major since he qualified for the U.S. Open in 2004.

Last year on the Nationwide Tour, McLachlin led the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic by seven strokes entering the final round, but shot a final-round 77 to finish tied for fourth. He said after Saturday's round he was better prepared this time around, but admitted Sunday he hadn't slept well the night before "tossing and turning."

"This is a new thing for me to be leading on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on tour," he said. "I just never felt comfortable out there for 1 second."