Brave Regier stays the course
American Justin Regier came from behind to capture a maiden Bermuda Open title after a marathon slog around a windswept course at Port Royal Golf Club yesterday that completed a weather- interrupted tournament.
The New York resident, who turned professional in 2007, began the final 18 holes trailing Glenn Joyner by three strokes but struck form with the putter when it mattered most to pip Michael Sims by two strokes at 12-over-par 296.
With the golfers needing to complete 36 holes to make up for the postponement of the scheduled third round on Wednesday, owing to gale-force conditions, Regier knew he had a chance to reel in Joyner. But the morning was not too kind to the leaders, with the only significant move being made by Graham Bannister, whose 75 brought him to within seven strokes of the lead.
Reiger matched Joyner's 79 and Sims endured his worst round of the tournament, an 81, to fall five strokes off the pace.
When they returned for the afternoon, the sun shone on Regier and Sims, but Joyner, perhaps recalling the form last season that led to 11 missed cuts from 14 events on the Australian PGA Tour, was stalked by dark clouds.
The Australian finished his third round poorly with four successive bogeys and, after a making bogey at the 4th, he had played his previous eight holes in 11 over par to effectively lose the tournament — the most hurtful being a triple-bogey eight at the 2nd.
Regier was only too happy to take over the mantle, with Sims his primary challenger, and the two battled the rest of the way. Those supporting the local hope would have wanted anything other than the matching 70s that meant the American would capture the title on his first visit to the Island.
Sims, who started the final round five shots off the lead pace, came within a shot of the lead when Regier made a second successive bogey at the 15th. But he made bogey on two of the last three holes, while the steady Regier tapped in pars.
“It was just a matter of trying to stay in the present as much as possible with what I was trying to do and let the chips fall where they may,” Regier said. “I have played too much scared golf in my life and I just wanted to hit as many good shots as I could.”
Regier rattled off three consecutive birdies on the front nine, slugging it out with Sims, the former Web.com Tour player, who also caught fire with the putter as the conditions gradually improved.
“Michael and I had so much fun making birdies on top of each other,” Regier added. “He is such a great dude and we were having a great time.”
Sims said: “It was almost like Justin and I were rolling off each other there for a while. We were keeping it around even par and then he started making some putts and I started making putts and some birdies.
“I have not been playing any golf lately, so I am definitely satisfied with the way I finished. I made up some ground during the final round, but obviously it was not enough in the end. But, overall, I thought I played fairly well, so I cannot complain.”
Simon Brown, whose day included a 75 and a 69, finished a shot adrift of Sims in third, while Joyner, who was level par the rest of the way after ending his disastrous eight-hole run with par at the 5th, had to settle for fourth after signing off with a 78.
Bermuda's Terence Daniels had one of the highlights of the day, with an eagle at the par-five 17th on his way to a 71 that carried him to fifteenth place on 310.
But the real gem was Daniel Augustus, who would have had several takers among the front-runners to barter for his 68, the low round of the tournament.
He made birdies on the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th and 13th holes, with the only blemishes coming on the 5th and 9th, where he took bogey.
It was a performance that was a far cry from the opening two days, when he 82 and 81 condemned him to also-ran status. But, with the help of a 76 in the morning, his stellar showing lifted him to joint tenth in the final equation, level with Dwayne Pearman as the low scorers among the locally based professionals.
In the amateur division, Jarryd Dillas, who began the final round with a commanding 12-shot advantage, did just enough to get over the line in front of the hard-charging Mark Phillips.
Dillas struggled coming in and had to be content with an 11-over-par 82, littered with four double bogeys and five bogeys, for a tournament total of 313. Phillips was three shots back after a respectable 73.
“I am happy to have won,” Dillas said. “It was not very good today, but good enough.
“Credit to Mark, he really played well. He pressed, made some nice putts and I would be lying if I said I did not feel it [pressure] a bit coming down the end there.”
Joshua Cabrera rounded out the top three in the amateur field on 333 after an 82 and 80 on the day, while Jevon Roberts's reign as champion ended much as it began, with a 91 in the morning and an afternoon 82 that mirrored the night-and-day returns of his first two rounds.