March 19, 2007
Garland, TX - Saint Mary's golf alum, Joe Lanza opened the 2007 United States Pro Golf Tour season in fine fashion, by winning the year's opening even in a four-hole playoff against two other players. Lanza shot 66 (-6) on Sunday's final round to finish the 72-hole event at 10-under and tied with Steve Friesen and Todd Rossetti for first place.
For the first time on the U.S. Pro Golf Tour, event play increased from 54 to 72-holes. Sunday's final round would end up going a little longer. After regulation, Lanza, Friesen and Rossetti returned to the par-5 18th for a sudden death playoff. Rossetti bogeyed the first sudden death hole, leaving Lanza and Friesen to keep battling it out. On the fourth sudden death hole, Lanza held off Friesen to win the $300,000 Firewheel at Garland Classic and the first-place check worth $40,000.
"Tee-to-green, I probably played my best round of golf ever," Lanza said. "I was firing at everything, and actually missed three putts for birdie inside five-feet." For Lanza, it's his biggest payday as a professional golfer. "My sponsors are so happy. They've been calling me nonstop and congratulating me. This is great and an awesome way to get the U.S. Pro Golf Tour season going."
Lanza posted rounds of 67-71-74-66-278 (-10) at the par-72, 7,027 yard Champion/Masters course. Also in the field was Liam Kendergan, who graduated from SMC in 2005 with Lanza. Kendregan finished tied for 35th place with a 72-hole total of 289 (+1) after rounds of 71-71-76-71.
Lanza and Kendregan will next compete on the U.S. Pro Golf Tour in the Diablo Grande Open on March 22-24 at the Diablo Grande Golf Club in Patterson, CA. For complete coverage of the U.S. Pro Golf Tour go to www.usprogolftour.com.