The Edmond Sun

Sports

April 21, 2014

Edmond’s Kropp holds off Cabrera to win in Cordoba

With his victory the 24-year old out of Edmond North High School climbs to the second spot on the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica

VILLA ALLENDE, CORDOBA, ARGENTINA — William Kropp, a 24-year-old rookie from Edmond, managed to hold off local favorite Ángel Cabrera to win the 83rd Abierto OSDE del Centro presented by FiberCorp Sunday.

His victory at the Cordoba Golf Club, in Cabrera’s hometown of Villa Allende, was his first in just five career starts on the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

“My plan for the first half of the Tour season was to get adjusted to traveling across the region and playing new courses,” said Kropp, who had finished in a tie for third only three weeks ago in Guatemala. “It’s really a great bonus to win a tournament as important as this one early in the year.”

Kropp finished at 8-under par 276, one shot ahead of the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters champion. Cabrera was trying to win the tournament for the ninth time in his career and he was also seeking to become the first three-time champion on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

“When you beat a player of ÁngelCabrera’s caliber it feels great, especially in a place like this. I don’t know if I was a fan favorite today, but I try not to focus on it. All the fans were amazing. The crowds out here were unbelievable, so it feels really good to win here and I’m really excited about the way I did it,” said Kropp, who attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was an All-American in 2012. He graduated from Edmond North High School.

Kropp entered the day in second place, playing on the last group along with 54-hole leader Fermín Noste, who finished in a tie for fourth. It didn’t take him long to take control with consecutive birdies on holes 2 and 3. Although he made a bogey on 6, nobody was able to catch him.

Playing ahead of Kropp on the penultimate pairing, Cabrera was able to cut the deficit to one shot on two occasions. “On the back nine I started looking what he was doing, because I wanted to know what he was doing and I wanted to know what I needed to do. It doesn’t bother me to look at scoreboards, so I started looking and whenever I saw that he was kind of making a charge, I just told myself ‘it’s time to do something; you can’t back down’ so I was proud of myself the way I did it,” he said.

Kropp’s birdie at the par-4 17th proved decisive. There, he followed a terrific approach shot by sinking a downhill 20-footer for a huge 3 that increased his lead to two strokes with only one hole to play.

“That was big. I felt good over a couple of putts leading up to there. They didn’t go in, so when that went in that was a big relief. I don’t usually get pumped up, but I think I gave it a little fist pump. I was pretty excited at that point, but I tried not to get too excited, because I obviously knew I had the last hole.”

With the local star making a par at the par-4 18th, Kropp had the luxury of being able to make bogey for the win. His approach shot landed a little too far on the green and it rolled down the hill behind to bring a little bit of drama. With his ball 20 yards down the green, Kropp hit a beautiful flop shot and two-putted for a 5 and the win.

A professional player since June, Kropp had already picked up a win on the Adams Tour last year at Bel Mar in Norman. On PGA TOURLatinoamérica, which he joined by finishing in a tie for the fifth spot at the Qualifying Tournament played in Peru in January, he is now the No. 2 ranked player in the Order of Merit.

The only player ahead of him through five tournaments is Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo, who picked up a valuable third-place finish Sunday to become the Tour’s new No. 1.

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