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Gore back on PGA Tour via Nationwide triple

His 15 minutes of fame seemingly expired two months ago on a hot, steamy afternoon in North Carolina.

By BOB HARIG
Published August 9, 2005


Jason Gore had become the darling of the U.S. Open. He qualified for the tournament, managed to shoot a couple of good scores at Pinehurst and found himself in the final pairing with two-time Open champion Retief Goosen . Then he shot 84, and his fall to Earth was sudden and painful.

Forget winning. Gore had cost himself thousands of dollars and a possible PGA Tour exemption.

He would go back to the Nationwide Tour, where he was not fully exempt, and attempt to get back to the PGA Tour the hard way.

Sunday, Gore earned an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour. He became just the seventh player in Nationwide Tour history to gain the so-called "Battlefield Promotion" by winning three times in the same season and the first to win three in a row.

Next week, he'll say goodbye to the faraway outposts and developmental tour and get back with the big boys and possible big paydays.

"It's been a hard battle," he said after his victory at the Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb. "Six months ago, I was ready to hang it up. It shows you golf is a great game."

Gore, 31, has twice been on the PGA Tour, but was unable to keep his card. He made $20,275 for his 49th-place finish at the Open, nearly matching his tour earnings of $21,150 before that. Before this year, he earned just shy of $500,000 in eight Nationwide seasons.

A former Walker Cup player at Pepperdine, he was not living up to expectations. Even heading into the U.S. Open, he had earned less than $30,000 on the Nationwide Tour. The top 20 money-earners get a pass to the PGA Tour the next season, but Gore was a long way from even thinking about that.

Then he found himself.

Despite the poor final round at the U.S. Open, he regrouped and tied for 10th at his first Nationwide outing. He won the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic and the Scholarship America Showdown. He shot 59 Friday, then had eight straight birdies Sunday and finished with 63 to get into a playoff he won over Roger Tambellini .

Now what?

"I think I am more mature," Gore said. "Hopefully, I am more prepared."

LOOKING AHEAD: This time, there were no wild shots to beat her. Morgan Pressel , 17, who has done just about everything in her amateur career, including winning numerous American Junior Golf Association titles, added the U.S. Women's Amateur, 9-and-8 over Auburn's Muru Martinez Sunday.

Pressel, who is from Boca Raton and will attempt to earn her LPGA Tour card later this year, has nothing left to prove as an amateur. Were it not for a couple of improbable shots this summer, her resume might be even more impressive.

Pressel was tied for the lead on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Women's Open, only to see Birdie Kim hole out for birdie from a greenside bunker. A few weeks later at the U.S. Girls Junior, Pressel was defeated in the third round when her opponent holed a 40-foot chip shot.

"It's going to give me a lot of confidence," she said. "I've got a lot going on in the next few months or so. We'll see how it all unfolds."

BACKUP PLAN: Give the PGA Tour, CBS-TV and the Golf Channel credit for having a system in place to show the end of the International Sunday when it was obvious the weather-delayed tournament would not finish on time. CBS stuck with the International an extra hour, until 7 p.m. Then the telecast switched to the Golf Channel, where the cable network showed the tournament won by Goosen until its conclusion. The only negative was the delayed telecast of the Champions Tour's 3M Championship, pushed back to 10.

LOCALLY: Clearwater's Greg Kraft , who played the final round Sunday with Gore, moved to 15th on the Nationwide money list with his tie for eighth. He has earned $141,756 and can regain his PGA Tour card by finishing in the top 20. ... Seminole's Brittany Lincicome is 62nd on the LPGA money list with $112,191, while Tampa's Beth Bauer is 98th with $51,034.