PANAMA CITY (AP) – Edward Loar won the Panama Championship on Sunday for first Nationwide Tour title, holing a 6-foot par putt on the final hole for a 4-over 74 and a one-stroke victory over four players.
The 34-year-old left-hander, four strokes ahead entering the final round in 92-degree heat, survived a triple-bogey 7 on the seventh hole and had only two birdies in the final round – the last on the par-4 16th.
“Yeah, I was nervous,” Loar said. “It was the first time in a while that I’d been in the lead, especially on a stage like this. I think anybody that said they weren’t is crazy. On a course like this anything can happen as it’s shown all week. Unfortunately, it came up and bit me a couple of times.”
The 6-foot-4 former Oklahoma State player finished at 4-under 276 and earned $99,000 for his first tour victory since winning the Asian Tour’s 2003 Thailand Open and 2004 Korean Open. A rookie on the PGA Tour this year, he will play in the Puerto Rico Open next week.
“I really haven’t played that good out here,” Loar said. “Hopefully, this will give me some gratification that I actually belong out here.”
Cameron Percy, Ryan Armour, Luke List and Brian Smock tied for second. Percy finished with a 67, Armour and List shot 68, and Smock had a 69.
Loar three-putted the par-3 sixth hole for a bogey, then pushed his tee shot into the water on the seventh and three-putted for the triple bogey.
“The triple was just bad shots followed by bad shots,” Loar said. “I was thinking I was glad I had a four-shot lead to start with. I obviously let a lot of people back in the tournament.”
Needing a par on the 465-yard 18th to avoid a playoff, Loar clipped a tree with his drive, leaving him 240 yards to the pin.
“I just tried to put myself in a place where I could get it up and down,” he said. “I didn’t think I had a chance for the green. I just hit a really good chip shot.”
He won with the 6-foot putt.
“I just tried to stick to my routine and I hit it right in the middle,” he said. “I really struggled. I had pretty good control and then a couple of slip ups, followed by another slip-up and all of a sudden it was tight and I really had to fight and dig deep. I made some unbelievable up and downs coming in to win this tournament.”