Rotz cruises to first professional title at Mystic Rock
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Clayton Rotz, fresh off winning the 96th Pennsylvania Open, asked for a piece of paper minutes before giving his victory speech.
He took out a pencil and began writing down who he needed to thank -- his parents, girlfriend, caddie and course owner.
With a six-shot lead coming into Wednesday and a sizeable cushion for most of the day, the most nervous Rotz may have been was giving his speech and remembering to thank everyone.
"I don't like public speaking. I didn't like it in college and I don't like it now," he said, laughing. "I don't mind playing golf in front of a bunch of people but I don't like talking in front of a bunch of people. I had to write it down and make sure I didn't forget anybody."
If he continues with performances like the one he had at the Pennsylvania Open, listing those he needs to thank will become second nature.
Rotz, 23, of Chambersburg, Pa., finished at 11-under 205 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort's Mystic Rock, shooting 1 over in the final round. He had consecutive 66s to open the tournament, putting him in prime position for his first victory as a professional.
"[I had a] slightly different mindset going out there [Wednesday]. I had the big lead with one round to go and my caddie and I talked about it a little bit," he said. "Try to hit greens and wear them out, just try to make them hit birdies and put the pressure on them."
Second-place finisher Matt Moot of Johnstown attempted to put the pressure on Rotz, but his 67 left him three shots behind Rotz. Mike Van Sickle, the 2007 and '08 Pennsylvania Open winner from Pine-Richland High School, also finished three shots back.
With his protective strategy, Rotz was able to keep his opponents at bay.
"I was protecting the whole day coming in and didn't want to do anything stupid and make a big number," Rotz said.
He said he felt calm and in control after birdieing No. 8.
"Once I birdied 8, I settled down and felt relaxed for the rest of the day. My caddie kept me pretty relaxed all day. We had a good time out there," he said.
Rotz said his caddie, Dallas Angeline, played an integral part in the victory. The two met for the first time earlier this week and never previously worked together.
"I was struggling to find a caddie for the last two months. I came up here Sunday afternoon and I talked to the caddie master and I said 'Hey, I need a caddie for the week who knows the greens and a guy older than me who's a veteran,'" Rotz said.
Despite it being their first championship together, the two worked well together.
"I gave him some reads, he trusted my leads and we made some putts," Angeline said. "Clayton's a good stick, you know what I mean?"
Their good chemistry resulted in a lot of firsts: Angeline's first time as a caddie in the Pennsylvania Open, their first time working together and Rotz's first professional victory.
"[I was] pretty emotional," Rotz said. "I've been working so hard with my coach and just grinding on my short game. It felt really good sitting on 18 knowing that I had won."
First Published August 16, 2012 12:00 am