It was only a two-foot putt. And it was for bogey, nonetheless. But when the ball fell into the bottom of the cup on the 72nd hole, Hoch raised both his arms and blew a huge sigh of relief. He was the newly crowned Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic champion.
Scott Hoch comments on his GGCC win
It wasnt about prestige or prize money. Many of the games best opted out this week; and Hochs made over $12 million in his 22-year PGA Tour career.
What it was about was winning, something the 45-year-old Hoch hadnt done in 3 years.
Ive been waiting a while for this, said Hoch, who earned $630,000.
Hochs final-round 3-under-par 69 was good enough for a 16-under-par total, and a one-shot victory over Brett Quigley (67) and fellow 45-year-old Scott Simpson (68).
Coming off a win at last weeks Buy.Com Arkansas Classic, Quigley was trying to join Paul Stankowski ' 1997 Buy.Com Louisiana Open and BellSouth Classic ' as the only men to win on both tours in successive weeks.
A hole-out eagle at the par-5 13th raised the 31-year-old to 14-under for the tournament, and into a momentary tie for first place.
However, he ran out of holes. Quigley birdied the 15th to move to 15-under, where he would ultimately finish.
Quigley finished 150th on the 2000 PGA Tour money list, which guaranteed him only partial exemption on the '01 PGA Tour. With his win last week in Arkansas, he is third on the Buy.Com money list. However, with his runner-up showing this week, hes now 62nd in PGA Tour earnings.
Quigley is now faced with the pleasant prospect of having multiple ways of earning his 02 PGA Tour card.
The bottom line is that I need to play well wherever I go, said Quigley, who collected $308,000.
Though he didnt win, Simpson also garnered some much needed cash. Simpson missed the entire 2000 season due to a broken right ankle.
Playing on a special medical exemption, the 1987 Greensboro and U.S. Open winner needs to earn $391,075 ' the amount recorded by the 125th person on the 2000 money list ' this season.
With his paycheck this week, Simpson has now earned $360,830.
Obviously, I wanted to win, but Im happy with the way I played, said Simpson. Its a real big confidence boost to know I played well when the pressure was on.
Winless since the 1997 Greater Milwaukee Open, Hoch begrudgingly made the trek to Greensboro.
Born in Raleigh and a two-time collegiate All-American at Wake Forest, Hoch was quite critical of the lack of rough at the Forest Oaks Country Club.
Despite publicly voicing his disapproval, Hoch played anyway, doing so with the late Payne Stewarts caddie, Mike Hicks, on his bag.
Hoch even used a little inspiration from his old friend on Sunday.
I just told him to try and help us get through the day and I really felt he was out there today, said Hoch about Stewart, who died in a plane crash in October 1999.
Hoch led by one entering the final round. He plodded along with six straight pars to start his round.
Hochs inability to pull away early led to a jumbled leaderboard. Quigley and Simpson had their chances, as did Jeff Maggert (69) and Jerry Kelly (71). Maggert and Kelly each owned a share of the lead on Sunday, but both men fizzled into a tie for fourth place.
Hoch finally got going on the back nine. He birdied three of his first five holes after making the turn to take command of the event. He sank a four-footer for birdie on No. 11, sank an eight-foot birdie putt two holes later and then went to 17-under when he made a 12-footer on the 14th.
Leading by two with one to play, Hoch flew his approach shot on the par-4 18th over the green.
Were going to make it interesting, I guess, Hoch quipped to the television camera.
After pitching to ten feet, Hoch left his par putt two feet left of the hole. He then hastily rammed home the bogey for his first win in 95 starts.
I was barking a lot a little bit earlier [in the week], but good play can overcome a lot of things, Hoch said.
The victory was No. 9 for Hoch, who is the light-heavyweight champion on the PGA Tour, having won tournaments like the Quad Cities Open and Greater Milwaukee Open on multiple occasions.
After striking his 272nd-and-final shot of the tournament, Hoch was presented with the Sam Snead trophy by the legend, himself.
In reference to his eight Greensboro titles, Snead joked to Hoch: Only seven more to catch me.
To which Hoch replied: At my age, I dont think I have seven more Greensboros in me.
That fact makes this victory all the more sweet.
Read a transcript of Scott Hoch's interview with the media
Full-field scores from the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic