Rick Lamb chips in for birdie to win first Tour title in playoff

Rick Lamb gets a nice winner's check after a final-day that included an 8-under stretch in nine holes.
Rick Lamb gets a nice winner's check after a final-day that included an 8-under stretch in nine holes. (Getty Images)

On a day when Rick Lamb kept firing red numbers, it was a fitting ending to the LECOM Health Challenge.

Battling it out on the second extra hole in a four-man playoff on Peek’n Peak Resort’s Upper Course’s par-5 18th, Lamb faced a crucial birdie chip he likely needed to make just to continue on.

Well, he holed it. And when Rhein Gibson and Cheng Tsung Pan couldn’t convert birdie putts inside 15 feet, Lamb had taken the title.

“Everything happened so quick,” Lamb said. “It’s just one of those days where everything went my way. It couldn’t have turned out any better.”

Indeed, it was a day full of good fortune for Lamb. The 25-year-old started the round six shots behind Gibson but roared back into contention thanks to a stunning 8-under nine-hole stretch in the middle of the final round.

It started with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8, and then went full throttle with a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-par-birdie stretch to commence his back nine.

He would par in for a course-record 9-under 63 to finish 19 under and wait to see if that number would get him a chance at victory.

“I was just trying to stay loose,” Lamb said. “I thought someone might come in at 20 under, but I tried to stay in it mentally just in case there was a playoff.”

Dominic Bozzelli (66) and Gibson (69) would both birdie 18 to finish at 19 under, with Pan’s closing par also putting him at that number.

After Lamb chipped in on the second playoff hole, Gibson had a 12-footer to match but couldn’t get it to drop. Following a 230-yard 3-wood rope to 8 feet, Pan had a putt of his own to extend the playoff, but also failed to get it to drop.

When that happened, Lamb had his win in miraculous fashion by way of more than just his final-round charge. Lamb was a Monday qualifier this week and in only his third start on Tour this season thanks to a low place on the priority list.

From having to fight hard for any spot, Lamb moves to 21st on the circuit’s money list with the win and no longer has to worry about a lack of events on the schedule.

Quite a nice shift in fortune for the left-hander.

“It’s completely life changing,” Lamb said. “The money puts me in the top 25 on the money list and now sets me up for the final stretch to potentially get a (PGA Tour) card.”

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