Fort Wayne, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Bud Cauley fired a 7-under 65 on Sunday as he rallied to win the Hotel Fitness Championship.
Cauley ended his first Web.com Tour title at 20-under-par 268. He matched the tournament record score of 268. Trevor Immelman set that mark last year in the first year of the tournament.
"I've dreamt of winning golf tournaments on tour. It's probably 80-20 between celebration and relief. It was a lot of fun today. Winning is what we aspire to do," said Cauley who missed part of the year with an injured shoulder. "I knew I had to get off to a quick start and get a few of those (birdies) to get up with those guys and get near the lead. I knew a quick start was huge."
With the victory, he is guaranteed to keep his PGA Tour card for next year. He finished 129th on the PGA Tour money list this year, just missing the cutoff of the top 125 that kept their tour cards for the 2014-15 season.
Third-round leader Colt Knost missed a birdie putt on the final green that would have forced a playoff. He settled for solo second place at 19-under 269 after a final-round 68.
Greg Owen closed with 70 to take third place at minus-16 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. David Lingmerth matched the low round of the day with his 8-under 64. He was joined in fourth place at 14-under 274 by Tom Gillis (66) and Sam Saunders (72).
Cauley flew out of the gate with three straight birdies from the first to jump into the lead at 16-under. After a par on No. 4, Cauley converted back-to-back birdies at five and six to push his advantage to three strokes.
The 24-year-old parred five in a row from the seventh. He birdied both back- nine par-5s, the 12th and 15th, to move to 20-under. Those birdies kept him one clear of Knost.
Cauley closed with three pars in a row to hang on for the win.
"The whole day I was watching. I knew with the par-5s on the back that I needed to keep making birdies," said Cauley of his leaderboard watching.
Knost tripped to a bogey at the first, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the par-5 second. He moved to minus-17 with birdies at six and nine.
Around the turn, Knost matched Cauley's birdies at 12 and 15 to get within one of the lead. Knost also closed with three consecutive pars. He had a 10-foot birdie chance at the last to force a playoff, but he missed.
"I got off to a shaky start. The conditions were perfect and it was definitely get-able. It's not like I went out and shot even-par or anything. I'm really proud of the way I played 18," Knost stated. "I sucked it up and hit a really good iron shot in there. I gave myself a chance and I thought I hit a good putt."
NOTES: Cauley, who earned $180,000 for the win, has played the last three years on the PGA Tour ... Knost earned enough money to return to the PGA Tour as well. He was a full member there for four of the last five years ... The top-25 players from the Web.com Tour earned the PGa Tour cards already, and the next 25 available from the finals series money list will also get PGA Tour status for the 2014-15 season ... The tour heads to North Carolina next week for the Chiquita Classic, where Andrew Svoboda won last year.