Steve Wheatcroft takes Boise Open in playoff

temp fix empty alt images for attachment
Steve Wheatcroft (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

BOISE, Idaho – Steve Wheatcroft rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Steven Alker and win the Albertsons Boise Open on Sunday.

The pair battled back and forth at Hillcrest Country Club and were tied at 24 under after regulation play.

Wheatcroft watched as Alker’s 30-foot birdie try stopped a couple feet short of the cup and then stepped up and made his putt.

“This is unbelievable. I’m just speechless,” said the 36-year old from Jacksonville, Florida, who won for the second time in his career. “I’ve been playing so badly this year that I thought I might be done. I lost all belief.”

Wheatcroft rediscovered his game at last week’s Utah championship where he finished tied for 21st after opening with rounds of 65-66.

“There’s something about this place,” said Wheatcroft, runner-up to Luke Guthrie here in 2012.

“It started to sink in a few weeks ago that if I didn’t start playing better I’d have to find something else to do. I knew I had to keep fighting and I had some good tournaments ahead of me. I really thought I was going to win this week.”

Wheatcroft started the final day two shots back of Alker, who broke the tournament’s 54-hole record with a 20-under 195 total.

Rookie Justin Thomas put a charge on late and posted a 65 to reach 22 under, good for third place.

Indiana rookie Chase Wright (66), No. 2 money winner Andrew Putnam (66) and second-round co-leader Zack Sucher (70) finished tied for fourth, five off the pace.

The victory for Wheatcroft vaulted him from No. 89 to No. 11 on the money list and guaranteed him a return trip to the PGA Tour in 2015.

“I’ve had an awful year and now I’ve had two good weeks and now it’s a good year,” Wheatcroft said. “With a baby on the way you worry about where the money is going to come from. That check is going to pay for a lot of diapers.”

Canada’s Nick Taylor was the leading Canadian. He finished tied for 15th at 15-under 269.