Twenty-One Legal on PGA Tour

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2005 Nationwide Tour ChampionshipPRATTVILLE, Ala. -- David Branshaw eagled the 17th hole on Sunday to move past Eric Axley and capture the Nationwide Tour Championship. Branshaw shot a final-round, 1-under 71 and finished at 12-under-par 276 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill.
 
The win was Branshaw's second on the Nationwide Tour after taking the Gila River Classic at Wild Horse Pass Resort in 2002. His win on Sunday meant more than adding another trophy to the mantle. The $117,000 first-place check vaulted him up the money list and into the top-21 on the final Nationwide Tour money list. That got him his 2006 PGA Tour card.
 
Troy Matteson
Troy Matteson talks with The Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz after setting the single season money record on the Nationwide Tour.
'It hasn't sunk in yet. It's nice,' acknowledged Branshaw. 'I felt like I got a little better this past year. I want to learn what I did wrong, and try and make myself better for the next go around up there.'
 
The week was not a total loss for Axley. His final-round, 3-under 69 gave him second place by himself at 10-under-par 278 and that check moves him into the top-21.
 
'I don't know what it means, but I know we're going to have fun next year,' said Axley, who opened with a 77 on Thursday and was tied for 55th in the 60-player field. 'It's hard to put it into words right now.'
 
Jerry Smith posted a 3-under 69 and came in third at minus-8. Peter Tomasulo carded a 2-under 70 for a solo fourth at 7-under-par 281.
 
Branshaw rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt at the 10th to move four ahead. From there, it was a combination of Branshaw mistakes and solid play from Axley that nearly swung the tournament.
 
Branshaw three-putted the 12th for a bogey, then drained a 15-footer to save par at 13. Branshaw landed in the left rough off the tee at 14 and never recovered. He bogeyed the hole and Axley birdied the same to cut the lead to two.
 
At the 15th, Branshaw missed a 7-foot par save and Axley sank a 6-footer for birdie. In the span of two holes, the pair was knotted in the lead at 10 under par.
 
Both players had great looks at birdie on 16, but only Branshaw missed his from 5 feet. Axley made his from the same distance and now, with two to play, Axley was one ahead.
 
The par-5 17th became the critical hole. Axley's second barely got over water and settled in the rough short of the green. Branshaw knocked his second inside 2 feet to all but guarantee an eagle. Axley hit a terrible chip that almost went sideways. His fourth rolled to 10 feet, but Axley missed the putt for a bogey. Branshaw kicked in his short eagle putt to complete a three-shot swing and take a two-shot lead.
 
Branshaw holed a 6-footer at the last to win the event by two.
 
'Eric birdied three in a row and I had three three-putts in a row,' said Branshaw. 'I hit the shot of my life on 17 and he got a really bad break there.'
 
Steven Bowditch only managed a 1-over 73 on Sunday, but took fifth place at minus-6. Mathew Goggin posted a 3-under 69 and came in sixth at 5-under-par 283.
 
Charley Hoffman began the week in the difficult 20th spot on the money list, but protected it through the tournament. He shot a 2-under 70 to tie for seventh with Bubba Dickerson (73) and Ryan Armour (74) at 2-under-par 286.
 
Troy Matteson broke Zach Johnson's two-year record for most money earned in a single season. He finished the year with $495,009, which broke the mark by $127.
 
Matteson headlines the group of 21 that will move on the PGA Tour in 2006.
 
Jason Gore, who already made the PGA Tour thanks to his three wins this year on the Nationwide Tour, finished second on the money list. Following were: Chris Couch, Bowditch, Jon Mills, Smith, Branshaw, Shane Bertsch, Goggin, Kris Cox, David McKenzie, Roger Tambellini, Camilo Villegas, Greg Chalmers, Jason Schultz, Axley, Vance Veazey, Nathan Green, Hoffman, Jeff Gove and Bubba Watson.
 
Related Links:
  • Final Money List
  • Leaderboard - Nationwide Tour Championship
  • Full Coverage - Nationwide Tour Championship