The 24-year-old carded a 7-under 65 at Palma Real GC and ran away from the field with a tournament-record 23-under 265 total, eight shots better than Jim Salinetti. Defending champion Pablo del Olmo, Clint Jensen, Brad Sutterfield and Chris Wall finished at 14-under 274.
Beginning the day with a two-shot cushion on del Olmo and Salinetti, Gillespie had a fast start out of the chute with an eagle on the par-5 opening hole. He followed that up with a birdie on number three to build a six-shot edge and essentially end any doubt as to whose day it was going to be. Even after hitting his tee shot left into the water on number nine, Gillespie did some damage control by canning a 25-foot bogey putt. Making the turn with a five-shot lead, he slipped into cruise control on the back side and coasted home.
I just felt at ease after the eagle, and just sort of cruised my way in, said Gillespie. That was my focus, to try to get further ahead. I was swinging the club well all day, and I was able to make things happen.
Gillespie battled a stomach illness all week long, and nearly pulled out of the tournament prior to Thursdays second round.
This season is transpiring much like 2002 for Gillespie. Last year, he finished second at Eagle Mountain in Arizona before following it up with his first pro win a few weeks later at the Myrtle Beach Barefoot Championship. At the Michelin Guadalajara Classic last week, Gillespie was fourth. One week later, he collected the $24,000 Cdn winners cheque. His confidence is at an all-time high, and it is showing. Dating back to last year, Gillespie has made 18 consecutive cuts. His past six rounds have all been sub-70, he leads the Tour with 68 birdies and Sundays triumph moved him into top spot on the money list.
I didnt have any expectations this week, but I know I am getting to be a lot better player, he said. My swing, my mental approach, everything is improving. That is the name of the game. If you arent getting better, you shouldnt be out here.