McCormick, S.C. – (May 5, 2013) – The Savannah Lakes Village Classic has always been considered a mini major to golfers on the NGA TOUR. And while this year’s event played more like a British Open than the Masters, the player-favorite tournament again lived up to its reputation.
There were three different leaders in the third round and the names atop the leaderboard were ones that will be remembered for many years to come. Blayne Barber, Jon Curran and Matt Hendrix battled each other – and the weather – incessantly on Saturday at Monticello Golf Club before Barber posted a pair of late birdies to take a two-stroke lead.
The intensity of the group had a final-round feeling, which proved apropos after heavy rains washed out the final round on Sunday, giving Barber his second NGA TOUR Pro Series victory in just his sixth start.
“I went out there on Saturday and approached it like it was the final round. That was my mindset,” said Barber, who finished at 9-under par and earned $28,000 for the victory. “It’s great to play with guys like Matt and Jon. Matt has experience on the PGA and Web.com Tours and Jon has two wins on the NGA TOUR this season and played on the PGA TOUR last week. Playing with other guys that are doing well certainly compels you to do well yourself.”
After Curran moved three shots ahead with seven holes left to play on Saturday, Barber, a former Auburn All-American from Lake City, Fla., would need a compelling finish to earn his first win of 2013.
“The first 11 holes today were a grind,” said Barber, who finished T24 in the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open. “The conditions were tough, the greens were firm and the pins were tucked. I really was struggling to stay patient. [My wife and caddie] Morgan just kind of reminded me of some truth and prayed for me and where we were. After that, I was able to stay patient, made a chip No. 16 and then birdied 17. It was a struggle, but patience paid off.”
The chip-in birdie on No. 16 gave Barber his first lead of the event and the birdie on No. 17 allowed the 2012 All-Nicklaus Team member to finish the third round with a 2-under 70 and a two-stroke lead over Hendrix.
While Barber was elated with his late-round rally, Curran undoubtedly felt the opposite about his play down the stretch. The two-time 2013 NGA TOUR winner held a two-stroke lead over Hendrix with six holes left in the third round, but three bogeys on the way to the clubhouse dropped the Vanderbilt alumnus three shots behind Barber and one stroke behind Hendrix at the finish. Curran of Tequesta, Fla., shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday and finished third at 6-under par, earning $9,000.
Greenville’s Hendrix used a hot start on Saturday to reach the top of the leaderboard. The Clemson alumnus birdied two of his first three holes of the day to take the outright lead. Unfortunately for Hendrix, three bogeys and 12 pars over the final 15 holes dropped him into second place. The former Tiger carded a 1-over 73 on Saturday and finished solo second at 7-under par. Hendrix earned $14,000 for the runner-up effort.
In just his second Pro Series start, James White, the co-winner of the 2012 Byron Nelson Award, rebounded from a 3-over 75 in the first round with a 65 on Friday and a 72 on Saturday to move into fourth place at 4-under par. White, a Georgia Tech alumnus from Arworth, Ga., pocketed $8,000 for his top-five finish.
Former University of Florida standout Dan Stone carded a 2-over 74 in the third round, but he actually gained a spot on the leaderboard, moving from sixth to fifth. Stone of St. Petersburg, Fla., finished at 3-under par.
After finishing T21 in the PGA TOUR’s Zurich Classic last week, Ken Looper continued his solid play in the Savannah Lakes Village Classic. The LSU alum from Mandeville, La., shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday to move into a tie for sixth with David Skinns at 2-under par. Skinns, a former NGA Player of the Year from Lincoln, England, shot a 1-over 73 in the third and final round.
Andrew Medley of Athens, Ala., was the only golfer in the field to break 70 in the Open-like conditions on Saturday. The Auburn alumnus shot a 4-under 68 in the third round to finish in a tie for eighth with Joseph Harrison (73), Seth Fair (75), Gregory Huxman (76) and Jonathan Fly (77) at 1-under par.
Travis Bertoni (72), Patton Kizzire (70), Will Dottley (73), Clayton Rask (73), Shawn Jasper (77) and Kelvin Day (79) finished in a tie for13th at even par for the event.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour Professionals.
The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro, Web.com, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships. On average over 60% of every Web.com Tour field and over 40% of every PGA TOUR field have spent time on the NGA TOUR.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink; 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis; two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA champion John Daly; British Open champion Tom Lehman; PGA champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year and 2013 Honda Classic champion Michael Thompson; and recent PGA TOUR winners Russell Henley, Kevin Streelman, Scott Brown, Brian Gay, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, Gary Woodland, and many, many more.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. Since 2010, the NGA TOUR has received twenty Web.com Tour and two PGA TOUR event exemptions, the most in developmental golf, and in 2012 became the “Official Partner of the Reno-Tahoe Open,” one of just 45 PGA TOUR events worldwide, and now the only event on the PGA TOUR calendar with a Modified Stableford scoring format.