Truckee, Calif. – With three birdies and an eagle on the back nine, former Georgia Tech golfer Richy Werenski battled from behind to capture his the first PGA Tour victory of his career at the Barracuda Championship.
Werenski, 29, who graduated from Tech and turned pro in 2014, is in his fourth full season as a member of the PGA Tour. The South Hadley, Mass., native holed a pitch shot from 40 yards for an eagle on the par-5 16th hole, then took the lead on the final hole when he drained a 15-foot birdie putt.
The tournament was played under the Modified Stableford Scoring format, in which points are awarded for birdies and eagles and points subtracted for bogeys and worse. The system encourages aggressive play, and Werenski rallied from a fifth-place position at the beginning of the round by scoring 11 of his 13 points on the back nine. He finished with 39 total points, one better than 34-year-old Troy Merritt, a nine-year Tour veteran.
“It’s huge,” Werenski said. “I’ve been playing well for I feel like the last couple of months, but to get a win, I mean, that’s huge. I got a couple seconds and everything, so it just helps my confidence a lot. Now I know I’m good enough, and now we’re going to go make a good move for the FedExCup Playoffs.”
“I knew I needed a big day and then I started off with a bogey, which wasn’t good,” Werenski said. “Just wasn’t in a great rhythm early on in the round, but did a good job of just kind of snapping out of it, stopped trying on every shot, stick with my game plan and just try and make as many birdies as we could.”
His flop shot on 16 landed in the fringe and raced across the green and into the cup.
“When it went in, I wasn’t really thinking about where I was in relation to the leader until then,” Werenski said. “But when you start kind of doing the math, you’re like, ‘I’ve got three holes left, make a couple birdies and see what we can do.’ It was pretty cool.”
He made a 15-footer on the par-4 18th.
“There was a lot going on, but I really just tried to stay in my pre-shot routine, focus on that as hard as I could and just fall in love with the speed of that putt and just kind of go through the motions,” Werenski said. “I did a pretty good job of that.”
With the win, Werenski earned exemptions into next week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the U.S. Open in September at Winged Foot Golf Club, and the 2020 Players Championship.
The win capped a huge day for Georgia Tech’s golf program, which also saw Werenski’s Yellow Jacket teammate, Seth Reeves, rally on the back nine to win the Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. It was the first Korn Ferry win for Reeves, and gave Tech two professional champions on the same weekend for the first time in its history.