Loupe headed back to PGA TOUR with victory

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Louisiana State Tiger Andrew Loupe carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday and outlasted the field to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals.  Loupe’s 5-under-par 279 total on the demanding Scarlet Course at Ohio State University Golf Club was two strokes better than Tom Hoge (69), Bronson Burgoon (70) and third-round leader Roberto Castro (75).

“I knew what I had on the line,” said Loupe who collected a first-place check of $180,000 and moved up to No. 3 in The Finals’ standings. “I just kept telling myself to take it on this week.”

Mark Hubbard (67), Dawie van der Walt (68), Luke List (71) and Derek Ernst (72) shared fifth place at 2-under 282.

On a day where players were going backwards, Loupe minimized mistakes and took control of the tournament on the back nine. After making three bogeys and three birdies on the outward nine, the 26-year-old two-time All-American went bogey free coming in. Loupe’s birdie on No. 14 gave him the outright lead and helped secure his first win on the Web.com Tour.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve won,” said Loupe. “I guess I’ve got to cherish these moments. It’s hard to win in golf. But I always believed. I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I could do this. To be honest, this course stood out to me. I thought that it was probably my best chance to get one just because you can use length as an advantage a little bit out here.”

The long hitting Loupe played the first two Finals’ events without a driver in his bag. Knowing he could take advantage of the Scarlett, which reminded him of his home course, The University Club, the Baton Rouge native used the driver to his advantage finishing second in driving distance for the week.

“That definitely played a key role,” said Loupe who averaged 319 yards off the tee. “A few more wedges into some greens, flipping a couple of long par 4s around where you have gap wedge or pitching wedge into them. I knew that I would have to do that this week.”

Currently the Scarlet couse is ranked the third toughest course on Tour with a scoring average of 72.773.

Castro, the overnight leader, was impressed with how well Loupe maneuvered the difficult challenge given everything on the line.

“I’m sure he did more than just survive,” said Castro, when asked about how well Loupe played in the final round. “The guy who wins hits the shots when it matters.”

Castro’s day didn’t go as planned. Three bogeys on the back nine derailed the 30-year-old from Atlanta’s hopes of tasting victory. Despite coming up short in his quest for glory, Castro focused on what he accomplished this week in Columbus.

“I’m playing the PGA TOUR next year,” said Castro. “I’m playing good. Next week I can go try and win a golf tournament. It’s a positive step forward.”

Hoge started the final round T12; with only a few weeks left to jockey for position, Sunday’s 2-under round came at the perfect time. The 26-year-old Texas Christian University graduate was clutch coming down the stretch knowing he had a chance to secure his standing.

“I think we’re all thinking about that the whole time,” said Hoge, when asked about trying to lock up his TOUR card. “I knew that I probably had to finish top 10, and so that was the whole focus.”