Former Arizona star grabs first win
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Chris Nallen completed a dominating wire-to-wire victory in the Nationwide Tour's Gila River Classic on Sunday, shooting a 1-under 71 for an eight-stroke victory over Troy Matteson.
Nallen, the 22-year-old former University of Arizona star who shot a 63 on Monday to earn a spot in his first Nationwide Tour event, opened with a course-record 60 and added rounds of 66 and 67 en route to a 24-under 264 total.
He holed a 60-foot birdie chip on the final hole.
"It's awesome to finish that way and birdie the last hole," Nallen said. "I wanted to get it up there close and have a good look at par. It was tracking the whole way, hit the pin and dropped in. It was a great way to end."
Nallen, who earned $85,500 from the $475,000 purse, is the 17th Monday qualifier to win in the 15-year history of the tour, the 10th player to win in his first career start and the 19th player to lead from start to finish.
"It's pretty cool," Nallen said. "Everything went right this week and that doesn't happen much. When it does, you just ride it and enjoy it."
Matteson closed with a 70 on the Whirlwind Golf Club course.
Jason Schultz (70) was third at 15 under, and Matthew Jones (72) and Kevin Stadler (76) tied for fourth at 13 under.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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