Shelton Wins 2022 Pinnacle Bank Championship
August 15, 2022
via PGATOUR.com | by Zach Dirlam
Robby Shelton carded a 6-under 65 and held off Ben Taylor, one of three 54-hole co-leaders, as he won the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna for his second victory of the season and fourth of his career. While Shelton quietly moved atop the leaderboard with a pair of back-nine birdies, much of Sunday’s drama centered around the final three PGA TOUR cards awarded to the top 25 players on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Eligibility Points List (i.e. – The 25).
“It feels awesome to finally put a Sunday round together,” Shelton said. “It means so much. I’ve slept with the lead a couple times and almost let it slip. Coming from behind is kind of where I like to be. Just an incredible start, and hung on, putted well all week. Just a solid, solid week of golf.”
Shelton began the final round at The Club at Indian Creek two strokes off the lead and caught Taylor and one of his fellow 54-hole co-leaders, Taylor Montgomery, by the turn. An eagle at the par-5 fourth and three consecutive birdies at Nos. 6-8, moving Shelton into a tie with Montgomery at 16-under par, and one stroke ahead of Taylor.
Shelton negated a bogey at the par-4 10th with a birdie at the par-4 12th, then took the outright lead with a birdie at the par-5 15th.
One group ahead, Kevin Dougherty, who could only move inside The 25 and earn a PGA TOUR card with a victory, also reached 16-under par with three consecutive birdies at Nos. 13-15. A bogey at the par-4 16th dropped Dougherty two strokes behind Shelton, knocking him off the TOUR card bubble altogether. Playing in the final group, Taylor also birdied the par-5 15th and had playoff-forcing birdie looks on the final three holes but came up empty each time.
While Shelton finished the week with only 42 greens in regulation, nearly the worst in the field among the 65 players who made the cut, the University of Alabama alum only hit 99 putts, with just 22 of them coming in Sunday’s final round. Shelton, who plays from Wilmer, Alabama, was just the second player this season with fewer than 100 putts across 72 holes. The other player to accomplish the feat was Norman Xiong, who set a Korn Ferry Tour record with just 94 putts in his victory at the Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics.
“It saved me,” Shelton said of his putter. “The greens were perfect, and I had a lot of long putts made, and I made every putt that I needed to.”
Shelton had already secured a PGA TOUR card prior to this week, a product of his victory at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX two months ago. Following the victory earlier this season, his first since a pair of wins in 2019, Shelton talked in depth about how a swing change sent him down a rabbit hole he only re-emerged from earlier this year. The tinkering came after Shelton made the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs as a rookie in 2020. Last season on TOUR, Shelton finished No. 167 in the FedExCup Standings, relegating him to the Korn Ferry Tour.
Now Shelton enters the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals with a chance at the No. 1 ranking, which comes with fully exempt status next season on TOUR and berths in the 2023 PLAYERS Championship and U.S. Open.
“I think then I was just young and playing some good golf, but now I can put it together four days in a row for a string of tournaments, which is huge for me,” Shelton said. “I’ve been a little inconsistent the past few years, and just to be able to do this day in and day out, it means a lot.”
Sunday’s main drama involved a handful of players attempting to either stay inside The 25, or play their way into it and knock out a fellow competitor.
Kevin Roy bounced back from a 2-over 73 in the third round with a 3-under 68 in the final round, holding on to the No. 24 spot on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Eligibility Points List despite a three-putt bogey from off the back of the 18th green.
Vincent Norrman erased a double bogey at the par-3 fifth with birdies at Nos. 4, 6, and 7. An even-par 35 back nine left him in the clubhouse awaiting his fate. Norrman eventually finished No. 23, one point ahead of Roy and two points clear of Anders Albertson, who held on for the final spot in The 25 despite a missed cut earlier this week.
Brandon Harkins made a furious rally after back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11 and a double bogey at the par-3 13th left him 2-over par for the day. Harkins needed a strong finish for any chance at a return to the PGA TOUR. A birdie at the par-4 14th and eagle at the par-5 15th gave him a puncher’s chance, but three consecutive pars to finish, with No. 18 being of the up-and-down variety, left him at No. 26, nine points behind Albertson.
T.J. Vogel and Will Gordon, both in need of high finishes to knock out Albertson, made charges up the leaderboard throughout their rounds but were seemingly always one stroke out of the position they needed.
Gordon, Harkins, and Vogel, along with the rest of the group who finished Nos. 26-75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Eligibility Points List, have another chance at PGA TOUR cards in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which begin Thursday at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron.
The 50 Korn Ferry Tour players who were unable to earn PGA TOUR cards via the regular season will compete against players who finished Nos. 126-200 in the 2021-22 FedExCup Standings, along with players who earned enough non-member FedExCup points to finish between Nos. 126-200. There are once again 25 TOUR cards available via the Finals. The 25 TOUR-bound members from the regular season will keep their points and compete against one another for positioning within the priority ranking, which determines entry to PGA TOUR events.