BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – It was a huge day for four local professionals at the 9th annual Reno-Tahoe Open. All four, led by Rich Barcelo, made the cut and cashed checks.
Reno’s Barcelo, who shot the day’s best round with a 4-under-par 68, finished in a tie for fourth with ex-UCLA star John Merrick. The duo finished the tourney at 8-under 280 despite windy conditions the last two days at Montreux Golf & Country Club.
Barcelo, who moved from 26th to fourth on Sunday, won $132,000 en route to his first top-10 finish of his career. It was the largest check of his career, and he has won $284,441. That surpasses his career PGA earnings of $230,542.
Todd Fischer, who lives at Montreux, struggled to a 4-over-par 76 but still tied for ninth at 6-under-par 282 which gave him an exemption to the Wyndham Championship, in Greensboro, N.C., in two weeks. He banked $81,000 for his efforts.
“I just committed (to it), but I have to sit down and decide what’s best,” said Fischer, who has spent nearly all his time this year on the Nationwide Tour. “The more time I spend away (from the Nationwide), the farther I fall behind that group.”
Michael Allan, a University of Nevada grad like Barcelo, finished tied with Fischer, and also earned $81,000. It also was his best finish of the year.
Charlie Wi, who struggled the entire weekend, shot a 6-over-par 78 and finished in a tie for 69th at 5-over-par 293. He made $6,030.
High winds kept players going real low, as Barcelo’s 68 was the low round of the day.
Only 17 players broke par, and only three – Paul Stankowski, Brian Gay and Barcelo – shot in the 60s. A total of 54 players shot over-par rounds, and six players failed to break 80.
The scoring average on Sunday was 74.256, the highest day of the event. It was the 19th time in 36 rounds at Montreux that the course has played over par.
Also, the final-round average is the sixth-highest final-round scoring average on the 2007 PGA Tour in relation to par.
For the tournament, there were 171 rounds below par and 194 over par.
The par-3 16th hole, which plays to 183 yards on the scorecard, proved to be the toughest over the four-day stretch, averaging 3.209.
The second-toughest was the par-4 464-yard 8th, which played to a 4.197 average.
The easiest holes on the were two par-5s, including the 518-yard 4th. It played to a 4.661 average. The second-easiest hole was the 584-yard 11th. It played to a 4.798 average.
BOUND FOR TULSA
Unofficially, 18 players from the RTO will play in the upcoming PGA Championship, which starts Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The group includes RTO winner Steve Flesch, Eric Axley (T-73), Rich Beem (missed cut), Mark Brooks (missed cut), Daniel Chopra (T-30), Jose Coceres (T-12), Ken Duke (T-12), Steve Elkington (T-6), Todd Hamilton (T-37), Anthony Kim (T-45), Will MacKenzie (T-30), Shaun Micheel (T-6), Corey Pavin (T-21), Tom Pernice Jr. (T-56), Jeff Quinney (missed cut), Bob Tway (T-45), Lucas Glover (T-18) and Dean Wilson (T-12).
Elkington and Micheel are former PGA champions.
“I’m playing good right now,” Micheel said after his even-par 72 on Sunday. “I’m hitting the ball very well. I couldn’t give myself enough good chances.”
Micheel said he’s looking forward to attending Tuesday night’s former champions dinner.
GLOVER LOSES GROUND
Lucas Glover entered the RTO in 10th place in the Presidents Cup standings, but he dropped to 11th because John Rollins tied for 30th place at the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Tournament over the weekend.
The rosters will be announced after next week’s PGA Tournament in Tulsa. The top 10 point-getters get roster spots, and captain Jack Nicklaus has two picks.
Steve Flesch finished 15th in putting average, but made up for it by finishing first in driving accuracy and total driving, and finishing second in greens in regulation.
Not a bad recipe for winning a tournament.