Ray Floyd survived a double bogey on the 17th hole and a patented late charge by Jack Nicklaus today to grab a onestroke golf victory in the $250,000 Pleasant Valley Classic.
The $50,000 first prize pushed Floyd's career earnings over the $1 million mark: Julius Boros. in winning $488 for tying for 57th place, also passed the $1 million mark. They became the 14th and 15th to reach the milestone.
Floyd, who broke the tournament record by four strokes with a 13-under-par 271, went to the 17th tee with a five-stroke lead over Nicklaus. But the 1976 Masters champion hit his drive into the woods along the right side of the fairway while Nicklaus was holing a birdie put on the 17th green.
The match tightened when Floyd went from one problem to another on the hole and finished with a double bogey six. Nicklaus, meanwhile, nearly chipped in his third shot on the 18th hole for an eagle before setting for a birdie that gave him a final round of 67 and a 12-under-par total of 272 for the tournament.
Floyd withstood the pressure and hit five solid shots on the final hole to finish his round with a 69 and gain his second tournament victory of the year.
"I had a bad shot on 17," said Floyd, who now has earned $1,011,635 in 15 years of the PGA tour. "After I holed out, I asked someone if Jack (Nicklaus) was making birdies."
The second-place finish, his 42d since joining the tour in 1962, vaulted Nicklaus' career earnings to $3,051,053.
"This is the second week in a row I've finished second and the second week that I've set a tournament record," said Nicklaus, who lost by a stroke to Tom Watson in last week's British Open. "I'm proud of myself for sticking with it this week and playing well."
Floyd, a three-stroke leader going into the final round, stayed three strokes ahead on Nicklaus through nine holes and went up by five after carding birdies on the 12th and 13th holes while Nicklaus had a bogey five on the 12th. But Nicklaus birdied three of the final four holes.
"If a man can't play with a oneshot lead, he doesn't belong out here," Floyd said, admitting. "It was a little slingary there at the end. "I played the 18th with complete confidence. A bad drive there and I'm in trouble. But I hit maybe my best drive of the tournament.
I was in the heat. It's the position I'd wished myself into. If you can't handle the heat, the competition, if you can't play ith a one-shot lead, go home. Hang up your clubs. Take a different profession. You don't belong here."
Boros may have written an end to his 23-year pro career. "I might just retire and go fishing," said Boros, 57. The winner of the 1952 and 1963 U.S. Opens and the 1968 PGA national championship, upped his career earnings to $1,000,248. "It's been a good career," he said.