Bettencourt slips by Heintz at Reno-Tahoe
RENO, Nev. — Matt Bettencourt will play in the PGA Championship for the first time thanks to an excellent eagle, pristine putting and a caddie who kept him calm.
That he shot 1-over on the back nine just made it dramatic when Bob Heintz missed a three-foot putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff in the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Instead, Bettencourt won for the first time on tour, shooting a 4-under 68 on Sunday that earned him a $540,000 check and an invite to Whistling Straits next month.
“I made some great up and downs,” Bettencourt said. “I feel like I’m as good of a bunker player as anybody in the world.”
After Bettencourt’s eagle on the par-5 11th, he closed with a birdie and two bogeys, including on No. 18. He also bogeyed the par-4 14th at Montreux Golf & Country Club.
The best putter at Reno all week, Bettencourt had 12 one-putts and only 24 total on Sunday. Bettencourt said a lot of the credit for keeping him calm went to Matthew Achatz, his caddie on loan from Rocco Mediate while Mediate was working as an analyst at the British Open.
“Thank you, Rocco, for letting me use him,” Bettencourt said. “He made me believe in myself.”
Heintz, who shot a 69 Sunday, started the week trying to qualify for a Nationwide Tour event in Ohio before he was notified he’d qualified for Reno and hopped a plane to Nevada on Tuesday.
“You hate to see somebody miss one like that at the end but at the same time I played well enough all week to win,” Bettencourt said. “I’m just so excited, I’ll take it any way you can.”
Heintz, a 40-year-old graduate of Yale with a degree in economics, was pleased to come away with $324,000 for finishing second.