Potter Wins First PGA TOUR Title; Five-Time eGolf Tour Winner Castro Finishes T7
Ted Potter Jr.
By Stewart Moore
White Sulphur Springs, WV – Former eGolf Tour player Ted Potter Jr. of Ocala, FL posted an eagle-birdie finish to his final round of the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic, and then birdied the third hole of a sudden death playoff against Troy Kelly to capture his first TOUR title during his rookie campaign on golf’s largest stage.
Potter, a self-made talent who played the eGolf Tour in 2009, entered Sunday’s final round in a tie for sixth at 10-under 200 following rounds of 69-67-64 to start his week.
A birdie-birdie start to his fourth round at the famed TPC Old White course put Potter into the mix at 12-under par, but he spent much of the day trailing 54-hole leader Webb Simpson, who reached 15-under overall with a birdie at the par-4 seventh that extended the U.S. Open champion’s lead.
Needing miracle just to have a chance, Potter received it in the form of Simpson bogeys on 12, 13, 14 and 16 that dropped the Charlotte, NC resident down to 11-under par. Looking to take advantage of his newfound opportunity, Potter closed his day in torrid fashion with a birdie at the par-3 15th, and eagle at the par-5 17th and a birdie at the uphill par-3 18th to post a closing 64 and a 16-under total in the clubhouse.
Potter, sitting on the back side of the stately clubhouse/hotel watching the final groups, witnessed Troy Kelly’s attempt at a title-winning birdie on the 72nd hole, only to watch it slide 3 feet past the cup, in turn sending the two back to the par-3 18th for the first extra hole.
Matching pars at 18 sent the two players back to the 17th, where Kelly made a clutch 20-foot par putt to add pressure to a title-winning 5-foot birdie try by Potter. Potter, facing a tricky left-to-right putt, lipped out on the high side, in turn sending the twosome back to the 18th for the third playoff hole.
On the second time around, Kelly’s wedge shot from the tee came up short of a ridge that bisected the green, and left himself with over 35 feet putting up and over a tier. Potter, looking to seize the opportunity, did just that by sticking a 9-iron to 4 feet, and setting up yet another chance for a short birdie try.
Kelly’s birdie putt came to rest 2 feet from the hole, which again gave Potter a chance to win his first PGA TOUR title. The second time around, he wouldn’t miss. Potter calmly rolled in the birdie putt for the win, which gave him a two-year exemption on TOUR and the event’s $1,098,000 first-place prize.
The win moved Potter up to No. 83 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and pushed his 2012 earnings up to $1,274,904, good for No. 42 on the PGA TOUR money list.
Potter, a lifelong mini-tour player, played his way onto the 2011 Nationwide Tour, winning twice and securing his PGA TOUR card for the 2012 season.
The lefty posted a career-best T6 finish at the eGolf Tour’s Pine Needles Classic in March of 2009 with rounds of 70-69-67—206, which left him two shots shy of a four-man playoff, eventually won by current PGA TOUR member Tom Gillis.
Former eGolf Tour player Martin Flores finished in solo-sixth place with rounds of 64-68-69-67—268. Flores moved into contention on Sunday with birdies at Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to reach 13-under for the week, but two back-nine bogeys left him at 12-under on the week, four shots shy of the Potter-Kelly playoff.
The finish marked a career-best for Flores, and his second top-10 of the 2012 season. The former University of Oklahoma standout and Texas native is now 77th on the PGA TOUR’s money list with earnings of $808,811.
Five-time eGolf Tour winner Roberto Castro made move of the day on Sunday, posting seven birdies en route to a closing 63 that moved the former Georgia Tech star 30 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for seventh at 11-under 269. The finish marked the first top-10 of Castro’s rookie campaign on the PGA TOUR, and moved him up to No. 110 on the money list with earnings of $581,968.
Castro played the eGolf Tour full time from 2007 through 2010, notching five wins and over $227,000 in official earnings. Castro won one event per year in 2007, 2008 and 2010, but collected two wins in 2009 en route to a third-place finish on the season-ending money list with $111,090 in earnings.
In the summer of 2010, Castro parlayed a runner-up finish at the Nationwide Tour’s Wichita Open into conditional status for the remainder of the year, which in turn led to full status for the 2011 season.
Four top-10s and a stout 13 top-25 finishes on the 2011 Nationwide Tour gave Castro $186,563 in earnings, good for a 23rd-place finish on the tour’s season-ending money list. That finish gave the Alpharetta, GA native his PGA TOUR card for 2012.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at The Greenbrier Classic include Kevin Chappell (T17), Blake Adams (T17), Will Claxton (T22), Garth Mulroy (T22), Billy Horschel (T33), Kris Blanks (T38), Brendon Todd (T46), Keegan Bradley (T46), Brendon de Jonge (T52), Edward Loar (T52), Kyle Reifers (T56), Cameron Tringale (T56), Scott Stallings (T56), Russell Knox (T69), Brian Harman (T69) and Tommy Gainey (62). For complete results from White Sulphur Springs, WV on PGATOUR.com, please click here.