Erik van Rooyen held a comfortable though not insurmountable lead as he teed off on 18 at the Barracuda Championship, and a fortuitous bounce helped him hold on for his first PGA Tour title. The South African led playing partner Adam Schenk by four points in the Modified Stableford scoring system heading to the final hole on Sunday.
The former Reno-Tahoe Open is the only PGA Tour event that uses the system, which awards points based on how a player fares at each hole relative to par with the highest score winning.
Van Rooyen knew Schenk would likely need an eagle on the par-four 18th to surpass him as long as he did not make a huge mistake – and promptly yanked his drive well to the left.
But it bounced off a tree and ricocheted onto the middle of the fairway, putting him in perfect position for a birdie that sealed a long-awaited title.
The 31-year-old became the 10th first-time winner on Tour this season, about two hours after Abraham Ancer won his maiden title at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Van Rooyen finished on plus-50 points, with 2018 tournament winner Andrew Putnam second on plus-45, 2011 champ Scott Piercy third with plus-44, and Schenk fourth on plus-43 after a bogey at the last.
The key sequence for Van Rooyen came on the front nine, when he carded his only bogey of the day at the fifth to lose a point before gaining two back with a birdie at the sixth, then scoring a five-point eagle at eight. Birdies at nine, 13, 16 and 18 would add eight more points to his total.
Schenk, who had led by four points entering the final round, saw the other contenders cruise past him on the leaderboard as he made four bogeys plus a critical double on the 12th that cost him three points.