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McNeill wins first career PGA Tour title at Frys.com Open

George McNeill, Frys.com Open
Jae C. Hong/AP
George McNeill secured his Tour card for two years.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Not until the 18th tee did George McNeill finally show just how special a day he'd had, smiling and waving to the camera.

Minus fanfare or frills, the 32-year-old rookie won his first career PGA Tour title in commanding fashion Sunday, shooting a 5-under 67 for a 23-under 264 total and a four-stroke victory over D.J. Trahan in the Frys.com Open.

Now McNeill has something in common with Tiger Woods. In 1996, Woods also earned his first PGA Tour victory at this tournament.

"Any time you can be mentioned in the same sentence as him it's a good thing," McNeill said.

McNeill did it with his only bogey coming when he three-putted on the 18th green at TPC Summerlin with the crowd cheering and four scantily clad Las Vegas showgirls ready to offer their personal congratulations.

His trophy arrived from 5,000 feet above, carried by one of two hangliders who took part in the awards ceremony.

Only in Las Vegas.

"That whole saying about what (happens in Vegas) stays in Vegas, I hope my game travels," McNeill said, smiling. "I felt like I didn't do anything that special. It's nice to kind of buzz around and win by four and not feel like you're doing anything all that great."

McNeill did it with small galleries following him, save for a big group of his Florida buddies who showed up to play on their own starting Monday. He did it by maintaining that same calm demeanor from the start, an even keel personality more resembling a veteran than a first-time winner.

McNeill earned the winning share of $720,000 on a beautiful, clear day in the desert after strong wind played a big factor in Saturday in a tournament that featured not one top-20 player in the field.

McNeill, who last December won Q-school by five strokes, was coming off rounds of 66, 64 and 67. He began his final round at 18 under and five strokes ahead, matching the largest lead on the tour this year heading into a final round.

He secured his tour card for the next two years. All that after a discouraging stretch earlier this year when he missed six cuts and withdrew from one event in an eight-tournament span.

"I was trying not to think about all that stuff when I was out there playing," McNeill said. "I don't get too emotional. I'm having fun with this. It hasn't sunk in. ... In a sense, I know I have a job for the next two years and it takes the pressure off."

After Trahan — who shot a 66 — birdied the first four holes and then No. 9 to pull within three strokes, McNeill made a 15-footer for birdie on No. 11 and also birdied 13 and 14. He sunk a 27 1/2-foot putt on the 156-yard 14th.

Robert Garrigus shot a 70 to tie for third with Cameron Beckman (68) at 15 under after Garrigus started the day in the top group and tied with Trahan for second.

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