Week to remember
After the biggest day of his professional golf career, reality set in rather quickly for Jason Allred.
"We can afford some diapers, thankfully," said the Ashland native.
Allred completed a storybook week with a remarkably clean round of 3-under-par 68 Sunday on the final day of the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open and tied for third place at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
With the showing came a check for $388,600 and, for the top-10 finish, entry into the Honda Classic in two weeks in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Allred's bogey-free round included a birdie at the par-5 17th hole, which put him at 12 under and enabled him to tie Brian Harman at 272.
Their playing partner — and a longtime friend of Allred's — Bubba Watson, fired a second straight 64 to record his fifth PGA victory. Watson birdied the 18th hole for a 15-under 269, two shots ahead of runner-up Dustin Johnson.
Allred became a popular rooting interest once his story was known.
The 33-year-old graduate of nearby Pepperdine University made it through Monday qualifying, then threatened the course record before settling for a 64 on Friday. He and his wife, Kimberly, have their third child on the way, due in two weeks.
That would conflict with the Honda event he just became eligible for.
Allred was asked what he'll do if the birth coincides with the start of the Honda.
"You know, I'm far from perfect as a husband and dad, but I try to make my family my priority all the time," he said. "I can't wait to talk to my wife, and we'll have fun figuring out what that looks like. I mean, I don't think I'd miss my child being born for anything, but you know, who knows, maybe we can do both. We'll see."
Allred said he didn't think about the paycheck as he finished off his steady round.
"The money's certainly great, don't get me wrong," he said. "It means a lot and it will certainly help out. At the same time, being out there today, I didn't really think about it. I'm surprised I didn't; like you said, it's about as much as I've ever made in my whole (PGA) career in one day, which is crazy."
Allred was on the tour full time in 2005 and '08.
This year he has conditional status on the Web.com Tour.
The Northern Trust was Allred's first PGA event since the 2010 U.S. Open.
The co-third place was his best PGA finish. Previously, he tied for 14th in Tucson, Ariz., in 2005.
He's placed third twice on the Web.com Tour.
When it came time to perform on the grand stage Sunday, he didn't wilt.
Allred birdied the first hole, then strung together five pars. As others passed him with the occasional birdie, he remained consistent and never fell out of the top 10.
He got to 2 under on his round at No. 7, then came nine more pars.
"Those holes, 12, 13, 14, 15, are some really difficult golf holes," said Allred. "They were awesome holes. They are very fair, but they certainly are challenging. So with a couple of those pins today, I think pars go a pretty long ways."
Rather than shrink from the challenge, he embraced the moment as he made his way around the back nine.
Allred admitted he's a work in progress when it comes to closing out a tournament.
"I don't think I'm a smart enough guy to put into words how much fun I had," he said, "but the chance to be here, this place, Riviera is such an amazing, special place "¦ To be able to go through that situation and be able to say that I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun means a lot to me given my history of kind of getting in my own way with that. I just had a blast."
On the 17th, Allred hit a 95-yard wedge shot to 9 feet, his ball coming to rest in the shadow of the flag.
When he ushered in the birdie putt, with an ever-so-slight left break at the end, the large crowd that ringed the green erupted.
He used the momentum on the next tee, bombing a drive, then following with an iron shot below the hole.
"Naturally, I'm a competitor," said Allred. "I guess everyone competes in their own way, but I wanted to hit a great shot and it felt so good to hit probably my best drive of the day, my best iron shot of the day. I wanted to make that putt, but in the midst of that, I realized, this is a special moment."
His birdie effort died and tailed off just before the cup, leaving a tap-in par for his final stroke.
If Allred couldn't win, he didn't mind seeing Watson take home the prize.
"To get to be alongside Bubba today, we were good friends growing up," said Allred. "We played a lot of junior golf and college golf, and he played an amazing round of golf today. It was fun to even enjoy watching him play."
Earlier in the tournament, Allred said that last summer he considered changing professions because he couldn't get into tournaments regularly.
But instead of acting on it, he re-dedicated himself to the game.
"So you know," he said after Sunday's round, "this is still pretty fresh, but it means a ton. I guess it shows me that I can do it. It makes that dream a little more real, which is really special."
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com