Ted Potter Jr. won his first U.S. PGA Tour title at The Greenbrier Classic, where U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson blew a final-round lead and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both missed weekend play as professionals in a tournament for the first time.
Potter made a four-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole yesterday at the Old White TPC Course in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to beat Troy Kelly in a playoff between the 218th and 464th ranked golfers in the world.
Potter, 28, received $1.1 million for the victory, which came after he missed the cut for weekend play in nine of his 15 previous PGA Tour events this year, including five straight.
“When you’re missing cuts every week, you get down on yourself,” Potter said at a news conference. “It’s hard to pick yourself back up, but the plus side for me is I was still young. I just knew I had plenty of time.”
Potter forced the playoff by playing the final four holes in 4-under par, including an eagle on the par-5 17th, to match Kelly at 16 under. Kelly, 33, was more than 200 spots lower than Potter in the Official World Golf Ranking, having missed 14 of 17 cuts this season with a previous best finish of 37th.
Potter sealed his breakthrough victory at Old White’s 162- yard par-3 18th hole, where he hit his tee shot about four feet from the flag to set up the winning birdie.
Simpson had entered the final round with a two-shot lead, yet slipped to a tie for seventh place after shooting a 3-over 73 that featured bogeys on four of the last seven holes. Charlie Wi and Charlie Beljan tied for third at 14-under par.
The tournament’s two biggest stars didn’t even play the final two rounds, as Woods and Mickelson missed the cut in the same tournament for the first time as pros.
The PGA Tour next moves to Silvis, Illinois, for the $4.6 million John Deere Classic, the final tournament before the British Open. The third of the season’s four major championships is scheduled for July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in northwest England.
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