Kevin Roy wins West Florida Golf Tour's Lakewood Ranch Open

jdill@bradenton.comMarch 11, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Kevin Roy's putting wasn't up to par.

So the Syracuse, N.Y., native changed his grip to spice things up.

Roy, who lives in Tampa, fired a final-round 67 to finish the West Florida Golf Tour's $50,000 Lakewood Ranch Open with a 20-under par 268 total and earn a three-shot victory Sunday.

And Roy credited the change in his putting grip, which came on the second hole of his opening round.

Roy previously scoured YouTube videos of PGA Tour star Steve Stricker, and started emulating his grip to give his own putting a kick in the right direction.

"I've been hitting it really solid for a couple months now ... but I haven't been converting the birdies I should and kind of was getting frustrated," Roy said.

But the switch came following his first hole in Thursday's opening round, because Roy was a little flustered from arriving shortly before his scheduled tee time.

The reason he was a little late was due to never having played Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club's Royal Lakes Course. He arrived at the main facility off University Parkway, not realizing that the tournament was being contested on the course off Lorraine Road.

However, Roy wasted little time getting himself comfortable.

An opening 65 preceded back-to-back 68s that gave Roy the chance to go wire-to-wire for the $10,000 first-place check Sunday.

"I know I have a pretty good credit card bill to pay off, because of these tours," joked Roy about how he'd spend the prize money.

It wasn't an easy fight to the finish as Canada's Mark Hoffman was tied with Roy at 19-under par when the pair reached the 16th tee.

Hoffman, though, went for the green off the par-4 tee as it was playing short for the pros.

The ball found the water, and his subsequent double bogey gave Roy all the cushion he would need to grind out the championship.

"It felt good, but I just hit a little bit of a hook in the hazard," Hoffman said.

Roy turned pro last May after completing his college career in Long Beach, Calif., and he quickly won the Central New York Open.

However, Roy said this week's triumph on the WFGT is his first real professional victory.

And it comes during a hot spell for Roy, who is teeing it up Monday in a bid to qualify for the PGA Tour tournament held this week at the famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

To illustrate just how potent his putting was this week, Roy canned an eagle on the 72nd hole from roughly 50 feet.

Meanwhile, Hoffman made birdie on the final hole to snag second place and $5,000.

He edged St. Petersburg's Daniel Stone, who recorded the tournament low round of 63 earlier Sunday.

Stone, who holds the course record when he shot 62 two years ago, lit up the East Manatee track once again.

"I said, 'If I can four or five under through six, seven holes then who knows,'" said Stone about his strategy in going low Sunday.

Clark Robinson, who hails from South Windsor, Conn., was the lone amateur to make the cut. He finished tied for 44th place with a 1-under par 287 total.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service