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Headline: Former MGA Open Champion Rob Oppenheim Makes Most of Sponsor Exemption; Finishes T8 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am & Biggest Career Payout
For Immediate Release: February 12, 2017
Norton, MA — During what has been a professional career of highs and lows, Bay State native Rob Oppenheim is happy to be soaring this morning.
After receiving a sponsor exemption into this past weekend’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Oppenheim took the most of the opportunity by posting a 9-under par 278 and a T8 finish.
He earned a total of $224,190 for his performance in Pebble Beach as well as a spot in next week’s Genesis Open to be played at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
One year ago, Oppenheim was a 36-year-old PGA Tour rookie who failed to finish among the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings (he was 158th). After posting just two top-25 finishes last season, he attempted to regain his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour playoffs, but once again fell short.
He earned a spot in the field at the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am thanks to a special invitation from Pebble Beach CEO Bill Perocchi.
Oppenheim made sure that the invitation was well placed.
He began the final round alone in fifth place at 9-under-par 206 after posting three straight under-par rounds. Needing a top-10 finish to secure his spot in the Genesis Open, Oppenheim had to make a highlight-reel par save on the 18th hole for an even par 72 and a T8 finish. On that finishing hole, Oppenheim drained a 10-foot putt which was captured on national television.
His performance this week came on the heels of a T7 finish at the Web.com Tour's Bahamas Great Abaco Classic. His road to what marks his best career PGA Tour finish was talked about on Golf Channel following his final round of even par 72 on Sunday.
CLICK HERE to view that interview.
As noted in the interview, Oppenheim failed to secure his PGA Tour card last year when he finished No. 26 on the money list, a mere $392 off of the top-25 mark (the top 25 players receive PGA Tour cards). A year earlier, he earned the final card by $101. The year before that, he made a hole-in-one in the final round of Q-School to earn full status by one shot.
This time around, he was thankful to his long-time friend Perocchi for giving him another chance.
“To be honest I was thinking if I could parlay this into another week it would be unbelievable. That would be awesome,” said Oppenheim during an interview with Golf Digest. “It’s amazing. My family’s not happy with me for the stress I have put them through. But that’s golf. I just have to play a little better.”
Perocchi is almost like family to Oppenheim. The two go back many years when Perocchi, a Lawrence native, befriended Oppenheim in 1999 when a then 19-year-old Oppenheim was in town competing for the U.S. Amateur Championship.
The start of what would be a two-decade long friendship was told one year ago by the Lawrence Eagle Tribune’s Bill Burt (click here to read that story).
Also making Oppenheim's trick back to Pebble Beach special was one of his playing partners from the first three rounds - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
According to a Golf Digest article, "when Oppenheim found out he and Perocchi, both huge Patriots fans, were to play with Belichick and Ricky Barnes, he decided to attend the Super Bowl LI in Houston."
A miraculous comeback win by his hometown football team and then a potentially career-changing performance at Pebble Beach certainly has Oppenheim soaring.