GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas — Kyle Thompson won the Web.com Tour’s season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on Wednesday at wind-swept Sandals Emerald Bay.
Thompson played 28 holes Wednesday in rain and wind gusting to nearly 40 mph, completing the third round with a 2-under 70 and shooting another 70 in the fourth. The 37-year-old former South Carolina player finished at 2-under 286 and earned $108,000 for his fifth Web.com Tour victory.
"I didn’t see it coming," Thompson said. "We had some bad weather at home, so I practiced a lot on my golf swing but I didn’t practice my putting at all. I come here and probably had the best putting week of my life. I just stayed very patient and persistent and worked really hard this off-season on my mental game and I think it paid off. Hopefully, I can keep that sort of mindset going."
Overnight leader Nicholas Thompson and Andrew Yun tied for second, two strokes back at even par. Nicholas Thompson shot 75-71, and Yun 70-69.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished in a tie for fifth place for his first career top-five finish on the Web.com Tour.
Kyle Thompson was 8 under on the final 66 holes after playing the first six in 6 over.
"(The first round) was just brutal. I can’t even describe how hard it was," Thompson said. "Even today, it was so hard. I felt like I was the guy in ‘Caddyshack’ who is having the round of his life walking straight into the breeze. I never gave up. I didn’t quit even though I had a rough start. Turned it around. That was definitely one of the top three hardest rounds of my life, and I shot a score that kept me in the ball game. I just kept grinding and grinding."
In the final round, he played the front nine in 4 under, parred the next six, made a double bogey on the par-4 16th and closed with two pars.
"The one swing I wish I could take back, the 3-wood on 16, but everybody is going to have a hiccup," Thompson said. "When I hit it, all you can do is laugh and just go ‘All right, let’s rebound and move on and see what we can do."’
The wind sent the scores soaring, with the players averaging 80.405 in the first round, 75.758 in the second, 74.209 in the third, 74.269 in the fourth and 76.160 overall. The par-4 12th played as the toughest hole in Web.com Tour history with a scoring average of 5.008 for the week. The 36-hole cut came at 11-over 155, the highest in tour history
The event was the first of two Saturday-Wednesday tournaments in the Bahamas. The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic is set to start Jan. 22.