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Piercy tops Perez by one for Reno-Tahoe title

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RENO, Nev. – Scott Piercy squandered a three-stroke lead, then dodged more trouble down the stretch before making a 7-foot par putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Reno-Tahoe Open by one stroke.

Piercy shot a 2-under 70 to finish at 15-under 273, beating Pat Perez by one stroke for his first victory on the PGA Tour.

A day after setting the course record with a 61, Piercy had to scramble his way around Montreux Golf & Country Club to claim the $540,000 winner’s check.

Piercy led by three strokes through No. 11, but Perez birdied the par-4 12th and par-5 13th. Piercy then bogeyed the 365-yard, par-4 14th when he tried to drive the green, hit a cart path and bounced 30 yards left.

Tied with two holes to go, Perez gave a stroke back with a bogey the par-4 17th, missing an 8-footer for par. Piercy hit his drive 387 yards on the 616-yard downhill closing hole but it ran left into the sage brush.

After helping his playing partner Josh Teater look for his errant drive in sage on the other side of the fairway for more than five minutes, Piercy knocked his own ball out safely then pitched onto the green about 30 feet from the pin.

Needing only a 2-putt to win, he sent his first attempt 7 feet past the hole before wobbling in the winner.

“Having to 2-putt is not easy,” said Piercy, 32, a Las Vegas native who started the week ranked 142nd on the money list with $365,162 but now will see his earnings approach $1 million for the second time in his three years on tour.

The first native Nevadan to win the 13-year-old tourney also locked up a spot next week’s PGA Championship.

“We had vacation planned next week. Now I’ve got to cancel,” he joked afterwards.

Perez shot a 68 to finish at 274, his third runner-up finish to go with one career victory on tour.

Steve Flesch, who won the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open, shot a 68 on Sunday and Blake Adams a 69 to tie for third another stroke back.

Jim Renner shot a 68 to claim fifth place at 12-under.

Steve Elkington and first-round leader Nick O’Hern both closed with 71s to finish in a group another two strokes back.