For Immediate Release August 1, 2004
Peter McGarry wins 2004 Western Golf Alliance Open
Gracious tiebreaker decides champion
LYNDEN, Washington. Peter McGarry overcame a late charge by defending champion Brian Gray to claim the 2004 Western Golf Alliance Open. McGarry's 72 hole total of 4-under 284 tied Gray, and required the tournament's tiebreaker procedure to decide the champion.
"This is an achievement I am very, very proud of," said McGarry. "Some last minute equipment changes I made this week clearly carried my game to victory."
The final hole of the tournament was the par 5 18th at the Homestead Farms Golf Club. McGarry played an accurate tee shot, a conservative second shot, and took an extra club into the island green to take the water out of play. Gray took a less conservative approach. Gray knocked a long drive through the landing area and into the right rough, but in an aggressive move took dead aim at the island from 230 yards out and reached the green in two.
From there, both players two-putted, giving both net birdies and resulting in a tie. Based on the tiebreaker rules, the prior champion must yield in the spirit of allowing the title to pass to others in the WGA. In this case, Gray, as the 2002 champion, honorably offered the Coveted Pewter Mug to McGarry.
"I have to say I'm disappointed to relinquish the title," Gray admitted. "Having taken risks on the final hole only to lose in a tiebreaker will motivate me to take my game to the next level for the next Open." Gray stopped short of guaranteeing a victory, however.
Though McGarry was one of the pre-tournament favorites, it was still a bit of a surprise to see him play so consistently over all four round. Two weeks prior to the Open, McGarry lost a head-to-head round to fellow WGA member Trever Esko. Just 15 days later, McGarry bested Esko by 27 strokes over the four rounds of the Open, thanks in no small measure to the addition of a new driver to his bag.
While no other participants finished in red numbers, several first-time WGA Open competitors showed well. Mark Taylor finished third at 3-over, earning himself the four year Open exemption that comes with a top 3 finish. Another first time participant Matt Wakefield came in one stroke behind Taylor. Doug Atchison, also a first-timer, won the pre-tournament putting competition and was only one stroke off the lead after the first round before fading to fifth at 11-over.
Final Standings - Top 3:
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.