For Immediate Release August 10, 2014
The Once and Future Western Golf Alliance Open Champion
Brian Gray holds off a tight field to claim his fourth title in 12 years
BEND, Oregon. Entering into the final round, the top of the Western Golf Alliance Open leaderboard was the tightest in history. However, playing in steady wind at the Sunriver Crosswater course, Brian Gray stretched his 1 stroke lead to ultimately win his fourth WGA Open championship.
"Every year, I enter the WGA Open with both confidence and trepidation, knowing victory will be difficult" said Gray. "In tough conditions, I had no idea I could hold off this tough competition, and I'm just proud to come out with the Coveted Pewter Mug in hand once again."
Gray did not begin the tournament strong. After the first round - also played at Crosswater - defending champion Trever Esko at NET 4-under had a three stroke lead over Doug Brunton, with Gray in fifth seven total strokes behind. However, Gray opened up the second round on a historic run - he posted GROSS birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle over the first four holes at the Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Resort, going NET 6-under over that stretch and tying for the lead. He ended the round still tied with Esko at NET 2-under, and never lost that lead over the next two days.
Entering the final round, however, four other competitors were within six strokes of Gray. Esko remained only one back, Dylan McCoy was three back, Bob McCoy another stroke off the pace, and Mike Nadon only one more stroke behind. With the wind gusting, Gray left an opportunity for others to catch him by shooting NET even on the day, but in a strong and steady wind no one could make a move. In addition, an arm injury almost forced Esko to withdraw, though he finished but shot NET 12 over on the day.
"It was frustrating to not be physically able to engage in battle with Brian down the stretch and do honor to my title defense," said Esko. "However, Brian was solid in some very challenging conditions, and given how others performed I'm not sure I could have kept pace anyway."
One of the surprise success stories of the tournament was first time competitor Dylan McCoy. A first-time competitor - but the son of a long-time competitor Bob McCoy - Dylan was one of the top three competitors all week, and ultimately finished in second place. In addition, Mike Nadon worked his way back from a mediocre first round, fighting his way back into a top three finish.
"This entire weekend was a great experience, but I know I really won this event with an amazing run early in round two," Gray explained. "After that kind of run, I had the confidence to know I could hit any shot at any course the rest of the tournament, and that confidence carried me to the win."
The final standings - top three:
# # #
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/.