NGA TOUR UPDATE: PGA Tour Member Outlasts Sam Beach in Florida
As Savannah Lakes Village prepares to host the NGA Pro Golf Tour for the Savannah Lakes Village Classic April 29 – May 5, Shorelines is providing website updates on the tour to help residents prepare for the tournament by keeping up to date on tour happenings prior to our local event, considered the top stop on the NGA Tour each year.
Lake Mary, Fla. – After opening the event with back-to-back 64s, current PGA Tour member Joe Affrunti built a seven-shot lead going into the final round of NGA Tour Bridgestone Winter Series event at Timacuan Golf Club – and he needed every one of them just to send the event into extra holes.
Affrunti of Crystal Lake, Ill., erased the thoughts of a final-round 76 quickly and outlasted Sam Beach, who started the day 11 shots off the lead, in a two-hole playoff to earn his fifth NGA Tour victory.
“A win’s a win, and we can end it right there,” said Affrunti, who earned $8,860. “That’s why you can never have a big enough lead. You can’t let your guard down. I came out here with the peddle down and it got away from me a little bit. I tried to stay aggressive. It didn’t pan out, and a 76 is what comes out of it.”
While his finishing score may indicate otherwise, Affrunti played some solid gold in the final round. After shooting 5-over par on the first four holes of the day, he bounced back with four birdies in a row to make the turn a 1 over. A pair of bogeys on the backside left Affrunti with a one-stroke lead going into the final hole of regulation, but another bogey at No. 18 left him tied with Beach at 12-under par.
Both golfers carded pars on the opening hole of the playoff and then promptly put their tee balls in the water on the par-4 second hole.
“The second hole at Timacuan is either the best-designed hole or the exact opposite,” said Affrunti, a former University of Illinois standout. “I decided to rip a driver and hit it in the water. Sam hit 3 wood and put in the water.”
Beach elected to play his ball from the water, but he was unsuccessful at plucking his ball from the hazard and ended with a double bogey. Affrunti reached the green in three and safely two-putted for the victory.
“The first two rounds were great,” said Affrunti, who will be playing in a minimum of 13 starts on the PGA Tour in 2013 under the major medical provision. “It was good to play some truly competitive golf and get the juices flowing. The final round was questionable, but that’s golf. The good shots were good, the bad shots were bad and I had a few bad breaks. But all I really care about is that I got the win and the fact that I’m healthy for the first time in a while.”
Beach, a former Richmond Spider from Glen Allen, Va., nearly completed one of the biggest comebacks in history on Thursday. The Carolina Winter Series money title winner started the day 11 shots off the lead, but he ran off four birdies over the first six holes to join the fray early in the day.
Beach started the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 before picking up his lone bogey of the day at the par-4 14th. However, Beach regained the momentum with birdies at No. 15 and No. 17 to finish with a 7-under 65, the lowest round of the day, and join Affrunti in the playoff. Beach, who carded rounds of 71 and 68 in the first two rounds, earned $4,454 for the runner-up effort.
Hunter Hamrick, a 2012 U.S. Open competitor from Montgomery, Ala., finished third with rounds of 69-67-70 for a 10-under 206 total. Hamrick, who played collegiately at Alabama, earned $3,768 for the podium finish.
Bradenton’s Sean Jacklin also posted a 2-under 70 in the final round to finish fourth at 9-under par, while Bo Hoag (67), Randall Hutchison (69), Oliver Farr (69) and Seth Fair (73) finished T5 at 8-under par.
Jeff Corr (69), Jason Millard (69), Riley Wheeldon (70) and Michael Buttacavoli (74) finished T9 at 7-under par. With his top-10 finish, Corr, a 2012 Web.com Tour member and 2011 NGA Tour Player of the Year, clinched the BWS money title.
The NGA Pro Series will begin at Killearn Country Club in Tallahassee on February 15.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Web.com Tours and is the No. 1-recommended developmental tour by more PGA 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 15 major championships.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA Player of the Year and 2003 US 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 Michael Thompson; 2012 PGA Tour winners Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings and Scott Piercy.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2012, the NGA Tour became the “Official Partner of the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open” and secured one PGA Tour and six Web.com Tour event exemptions for its members, the most in developmental golf.
Courtesy of NGA Pro Golf Tour Media Relations