Las Vegas, Nevada (July 25, 2010 UPDATE 9:28 PM)–It's not every day that a PGA Tour golfer gets mentioned in the same breath as Arnold Palmer. But for Las Vegas resident Dean Wilson, who fired 3-straight rounds of 65 to start the RBC Canadian Open, that is now the case. Wilson tied Palmer's 54-hole record total that the King set in 1955 at the national open for Canada. Wilson, who plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas, had built a 4-shot lead heading into the final round. Palmer went on to win his first PGA Tour event back then. Wilson couldn't close the deal and lost to Carl Petterson. —By Brian Hurlburt.
UPDATE QUOTE: "It's tough, you know," said Wilson about leading for three rounds and then closing the deal. "Like I said, if you told me at the beginning of the week I could have second by myself, I would have taken it skipping. And I'm happy with moving up on the Money List, moving up on the FedExCup point list, but my options are pretty slim. I'm not going to get in very many tournaments from here on out. I'll get in next week, and we'll see, maybe I can get another sponsor invite here and there, but I'm going to have to make a few more bucks to get into the Top 125. Hopefully I'm up high enough, maybe I can get in some FedEx Cup events, the first one maybe. I don't know where it puts me, but I need to move up a little bit to assure my card so I don't have to go to TOUR school next year … I felt really good about my emotions. I felt good about my mindset and what I was doing. I'm happy with the way I performed. I know how I am when I'm very nervous, and I perform poorly; and I don't view it that way today. I didn't get it done, but I felt positive what I was doing."
Wilson was at a total of 15-under par (195 strokes after 65-65-65) and was looking to become just another PGA Tour golfer with strong ties to Las Vegas golf course to win an event on the PGA Tour. He received a sponsor exemption into the event on the Monday of tournament week, due, in part, to his friendship with Canada's Mike Weir, a teammate of Wilson's at BYU. Wilson was taking full advantage of his good fortune and using other recent PGA Tour success stories as fuel for his fire.
"I didn't expect it, but I was hoping for it, and kind of going off some of the stories that's been happening on TOUR, with Matt Bettencourt winning last week," said Wilson, a former winner of VegasGolfer Magazine's Favorite Las Vegas PGA Tour golfer, about his expectations of his level of play once he was officially in the tournament. "You know, (Matt) wasn't playing his best; he was missing some cuts and he wins. And Bob Heintz wasn't playing too well and he was up there. So I tried to talk myself into it, say, hey, I've got it. Just give me the chance; and if these guys can do it, I can do it, too. And just keep fighting, and that's the great thing about golf. You know, anything can happen. No one expected Louis to win the British Open, but he just mowed over everybody and played great golf, and you never know when it's going to happen, so you just have to keep fighting and stick to it." In the previous tournaments, Bettencourt won the Reno-Tahoe Open while Louis Oosthuzen stunned the golf world with a dominant win at The Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Wilson, who won the 2006 Sprint International, has lived in the Las Vegas area for several years and is one of many Las Vegas tour golfers who play and practice at TPC Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin, the two PGA Tour-owned Las Vegas golf courses. TPC Las Vegas is a resort course while Summerlin is private and a host to the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. You never know who you will see when you play TPC Las Vegas because such PGA Tour pros as Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Na, Bill Lunde, Scott Piercy, and several others use the course to tune-up for the PGA Tour.
Wilson recently turned 40, but believes the best is yet to come. "Last year didn't turn out so good, and I'm a little more appreciative of getting in tournaments and playing and being out here and fighting and being in the battle," said Wilson, who finished 152nd on the PGA Tour money list in 2009 and lost full exempt status. "So yeah, that time away makes you think about, you know, what you don't have. And sometimes when you're playing, every guy goes through it, you're playing tournament after tournament after tournament and things don't go your way, awe, I've got next week. You know, I don't have next week. So I've gotta take advantage of the rounds that I have, and I think that's my attitude now and I think it's a lot better."