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There were probably a few more residents in the area watching the PGA Tour this weekend, thanks to Richmond High School graduate Michael Letzig. Letzig, a 1998 RHS grad, is beginning to make his mark on the tour in his second season after back-to-back top 10 finishes.
His latest outing saw him in the final pairing with Tiger Woods for the Buick Open title in Grand Blanc, Mich. Letzig, who was paired with the World’s No. 1 golfer in the Memorial a few weeks ago, shot a 73 on Sunday, but his week was still good enough to finish in a tie for sixth and paycheck worth $177,225.
That boosted his yearly total to over $877,000, and should secure him a spot in the top 125 and earn him his tour card for a third season.
Letzig, after playing his third week in a row, did not play a practice round in preparation for the tournament, but was pleased with the outcome.
“It was a long week for me, especially after last week, so I was very happy to finish this way,” he said. “I think that’s enough to secure my card, so I’m excited for the rest of the year – playing with no pressure really.”
Letzig, who has missed just one cut in 21 events this season, opened the tournament with a 5-under par 67 on Thursday, and followed with an even better round on Friday with a 65, which put him in contention for the weekend.
On Saturday, Letzig grabbed the lead at 16-under through 16 holes thanks to his putting, which helped him end the round with 7 birdies.
He led the tournament in putting for the week with an average of 25.5 per round.
A bad approach shot on the 18th, led to trouble and a double bogey on the par-4 finishing hole, which dropped him a shot behind Woods going into Sunday.
The 435-yard 18th hole at Warrick Hills gave Letzig problems all week as he shot 4-over for his four rounds.
“Same thing as last year,” Letzig said. “I couldn’t ever get past that hole with pars it seemed like. To try and make birdie there was just – I don’t know. I don’t know how to hit that tee shot.”
On Sunday, Letzig said his short game gave him problems.
“My chipping was terrible,” he said. “I wasn’t able to chip it close today and I think that’s what really let me down and kept me from getting any momentum out there.”
Letzig added that he really did not feel any extra pressure playing his final round with Woods.
“I just try to play my own game,” he said. “I wasn’t really here to win the tournament today. I was just kind of in a battle with myself out there. You try not to match him. It ain’t gonna happen.”
Letzig finished in a tie for 8th at last week’s RBC Canadian Open. His highest tournament finish was a runner-up spot at November’s Ginn sur Mer Classic in Florida.