Lexington native Teater locks up PGA Tour spot

Josh Teater, who has been chasing his dream of playing on the PGA Tour for eight years, might be pinching himself this morning.

His dream has come true.

Teater, a Henry Clay and Morehead State graduate, locked up a spot on the PGA Tour for 2010 by winning the Nationwide Utah Championship by four strokes Sunday.

Teater shot 65-67-64-68—264 (20-under par) and won $99,000 to increase his season earnings to $238,000. That boosts him to No. 8 on the Nationwide money list and guarantees him a spot in the Top 25, the cut-off for PGA Tour privileges.

"It's a great feeling," Teater said. "But you have to keep playing well to finish as high as possible in 'The 25' to get in as many tournaments as possible next year, so I'm going to keep my foot down and try to keep making birdies."

Teater's parents, Donna and Harry Rhodus, were at home in Lexington keeping up via the Internet with his final round in Utah.

Donna Rhodus, who got a phone call from her son Sunday night, said she was "elated and proud. This couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

"I think it's a building block to the next level. I think he's is ready to go."

A few weeks ago Teater had the biggest payday of his pro career at that time — $67,500 — when he finished second in the Nationwide event in Kansas.

He was tied with playing partner Michael Sim until the closing holes before Sim, the tour's top player, wound up winning by two shots.

At Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy, Utah, on Sunday, the 30-year-old Teater closed the deal.

He started the final round with a one-shot lead, and bogeys on the sixth, eighth and ninth holes offset his eagle on the first hole and birdie on the third. He made the turn even-par and tied for the lead.

But Teater birdied the 10th, 12th and 13th to open a four-shot lead, then clinched victory with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 17th.

"When I got to the back nine my thought was to give myself a chance at nine birdies, and I did a pretty good job at that," he said.

Teater's long road to the PGA Tour included a close call at qualifying school last December when he stumbled down the stretch and barely missed getting his tour card.

Harry Rhodus said Josh's determination was thekey to his success.

"Even when things didn'tgo his way, he kept on plugging," he said.