Malnati claims maiden win at News Sentinel Open
Knoxville, TN – Peter Malnati emerged from a crowded leaderboard Sunday with a birdie at his final hole to close out a 6-under 65 and claim a 1-stroke victory at the News Sentinel Open.
Malnati earned his first career victory on the Web.com Tour at 16-under-par 268.
"I didn't feel like I was going to win," Malnati said. "That was a thought that was not in my head."
James White (66), Miguel Angel Carballo (67), Matt Bettencourt (67) and Blayne Barber (68) shared second place at Fox Den Country Club at 15-under.
Bettencourt and Barber each had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at the 18th, but neither could convert to finish a shot off the pace.
Tim Wilkinson (66) and Kevin Kisner (69) tied for sixth at 14-under, while Mark Anderson (68) took eighth at 13-under and Richard Scott finished in ninth at minus-12.
Aron Price entered the day with a 1-stroke lead, but tripped to a bogey at the third to fall to 12-under and into a tie for first with Kisner and Barber before play was suspended for rain.
When play resumed nearly two and a half hours later, Barber birdied the fifth to move a stroke clear of Kisner.
The top of the leaderboard started to get crowded from there as Price recorded back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth to meet Barber at 13-under.
Wilkinson then split birdies at the ninth and 12th around an eagle at the 10th to also grab a share of the lead before Carballo and Bettencourt made it a five-way tie with matching birdies at the 10th.
Barber eagled the 10th to move ahead of the pack and grab the outright lead at 15-under, while Bettencourt followed his birdie at the 10th with consecutive gains at the 11th and 12th to meet him there.
Bettencourt would par his final six holes to stay there, and Barber traded a bogey at the 12th with a birdie at the 16th to also hit the clubhouse at 15- under.
Malnati, White, Carballo and Kisner, meanwhile, would eventually all reach minus-15 to make it a six-way tie for the lead. Kisner would later bogey the 18th to fall behind.
Carballo and White had birdied the last to make it to 15-under.
That left it up to Malnati, who had grabbed a share of the lead with three straight gains from the 14th. After the Tennessee native parred the 17th, he converted his decisive 3-foot birdie putt at the last to claim the win.
"I've worked really hard, and I love doing this," said Malnati. "The only thing that stresses me out is wondering am I going to have to play mini tours next year? And the answer to that is no."
NOTES: Malnati collected $99,000 with the win, moving him to 16th on the Web.com's money list ... If Malnati remains inside the top 25 of the money list at the end of next week, he will receive his PGA Tour card for next year ... Price shot a 73 to finish in a tie for 10th place at 11-under ... The Web.com Tour concludes its regular season next week with the Cox Classic, where Ben Kohles fired a 9-under 62 during his final round to win by three strokes.