Halfway through a miserable PGA Tour season, Olympia’s Andres Gonzales stopped looking at tournament scoreboards.
“I knew how my year was going,” the Capital High School graduate said.
And he also knew going into last week’s Wyndham Championship, the tour’s final regular-season event before the start of the FedExCup playoffs, he needed to post one of his best career finishes to crack the top 200 on the money list in order to qualify for the new-era qualifying school.
Gonzales did that emphatically Sunday by closing with a 6-under-par 64 at rain-soaked Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Not only was it his best score on the PGA Tour, he recorded his career-best finish — a tie for eighth at 10-under 270.
He earned $153,700, his biggest paycheck as a professional golfer. That boosted his total to just more than $179,000, which vaults him to 188th on the tour money list.
Gonzales didn’t stick around to see who would emerge from a two-man playoff between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
He wanted to get back to Washington as soon as possible to relax for a couple of days before embarking on the three-event qualifying school for 50 PGA Tour cards, starting with the Hotel Fitness Championship, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“I am extremely happy,” Gonzales said. “I was very happy with the way I composed my mind. That was a big part of it. This whole year, I was worrying about what I wasn’t doing as opposed to what I needed to be doing. I am elated.”
Statistically, Gonzales’ season has been a mess. The one category where he excels is eagles made. And he added another one to his total Sunday, rolling in a 25-footer from off the back fringe at the par-5 fifth hole.
“It just got me going. I hit a lot of good shots on the first few holes … but the greens were really, really fast,” Gonzales said.
His bogey-free round ended with a bang. He sank a 25-footer at No. 17 for a final birdie to guarantee his first top-10 finish.
Gonzales said he saw a week like this coming. Midway through the year, he switched to instructor Ann Marie Gildersleeve, the head professional at Austin (Texas) Country Club.
“I was seeing it on the golf course,” Gonzales said. “The last couple of weeks, I wasn’t as frustrated as I was earlier in the year. I knew I was on the right track.
“A whole year can go poorly, just as long as I now finish strong. And today got me into the next few weeks.”
REED BEATS SPIETH
Reed won the Wyndham Championship for his first PGA Tour title, beating Spieth with a birdie on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Reed recovered from a drive on the par-4 10th that almost went out of bounds and put his second shot 7 feet from the pin. Spieth reached the green in two strokes, but his 10-foot birdie putt trickled less than an inch wide of the cup.
After they finished 72 holes in 14-under 266, the 20-year-old Spieth was denied in his bid to become the youngest two-time champion in the modern era of the PGA Tour. He won the John Deere Classic last month as a 19-year-old.
EURO WOMEN REPEAT
Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall became the first player in Solheim Cup history to go 5-0-0, holing a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 1-up win over Michelle Wie that assured the Europeans retained the cup. Moments later, Catriona Matthew halved her match with Gerina Piller to give the Europeans 141/2 points for their first win on U.S. soil.
Charley Hull, at 17 the youngest player in Solheim Cup history, capped off her amazing week by demolishing Paula Creamer, 5 and 4, in a match that set the tone for Europe at the event in Parker, Colo.
The final score was 18-10 after the Europeans started the day needing 31/2 points from 12 singles matches to retain the cup.
Bart Bryant closed with a 72 to win the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y., the 1,000th event on the 50-and-over Champions Tour. … Matt Fitzpatrick defeated Australian Oliver Goss, 4 and 3, in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Amateur in Brookline, Mass., to become its first English champion since 1911. … Peter Malnati shot a 65 and won the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn., for his first Web.com Tour title. University Place’s Andrew Putnam closed with a 67 and tied for 17th. Older brother Michael Putnam (70) tied for 30th and remained the tour’s leading money winner. …PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky have taken to Twitter to say they’re getting married. She is the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.The Associated Press contributed to this report.