'Fate was on my side': Alternate fires two sub-30 front nines en route to first career victory

‘Fate was on my side’: Alternate fires two sub-30 front nines en route to first career victory

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Michael Arnaud won by five on Sunday in South Carolina.

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Less than 24 hours before the Web.com Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am began, Michael Arnaud didn’t even know if he had a spot in the field.

It’s a good thing he showed up anyway.

Arnaud, an alternate, got the last spot in the field and promptly blitzed the front nine for a pair of sub-30 scores, the latter coming in Sunday’s final round en route to his five-stroke win, the first of his career.

Arnaud only got in on Wednesday morning after Kent Bulle withdrew with a shoulder injury.

“Wednesday morning I got up not knowing if I was gonna play, hoping I made the right decision to come here,” he said. “You know, fate was on my side. Last man in the field and now I’m the first man at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the week.”

The BMW Charity Pro-Am was his second start of the season (and 50th of career). He missed the cut (81-75) at the United Leasing & Finance Championship in April. Arnaud joined the Web.com Tour in 2015 and had two top 10s in 17 starts, but he finished in the top 25 just twice in 20 starts in 2016, and he never finished higher than T18 in five starts in 2017.

“I have so many people that have been telling me to keep grinding, keep grinding — they knew I had the talent to make it out there,” Arnaud said. “My wife just keeps telling me to work at it, and that’s what I’ve done. Finally the fruits of my labor paid off.”

Arnaud opened with a 69 Thursday, but he vaulted up the leaderboard with an 11-under 60 on Friday that included an eight-under 27 on the front. He was nine under on his first seven holes — two eagles, five birdies — and finished par-bogey to tie the Web.com’s nine-hole scoring record.

After a 65 on Saturday, the 36-year-old Arnaud added another scorching front nine on Sunday. He made the turn in seven-under 28 and later signed for an eight-under 71 and easy victory at 27 under.