Paul Brown, Adam Hart finish T2
Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. – November 8, 2012 – Former Robert Morris University standout C.G. Mercatoris earned his first professional victory on Thursday in the NGA TOUR Carolina Winter Series event at Panthers Run.
After holding at least a share of the lead from the outset, Mercatoris of Brookville, Pa., survived a final-round 75 to best Adam Hart and Paul Brown by two shots en route to his inaugural victory.
“After turning pro, I decided to approach this as a job,” said Mercatoris, who earned $5,000. “I’ve been working with a personal trainer for three months, working out and practicing about 10 hours a day. Not to sound cliché, but it’s a process.”
And one that worked this week.
Mercatoris and Brown held a share of the first-round lead after opening with 69s, but Mercatoris pulled ahead with a Wednesday-best 67, giving him a one-stroke leading going into Thursday’s final round.
“I tried to keep the blinders on and not turn it into a match play situation with Paul,” said Mercatoris, “because out here someone can come out of the field and catch you in a hurry.”
But it was hard not to notice Brown, considering the former College of Charleston standout held the lead going to the 16th tee. After winning last week, Brown of Hartsville, S.C., looked to be en route to another Carolina Series victory until a pair of late double bogeys dropped him from contention.
With Brown’s missteps, Mercatoris needed only to two-putt from four foot on the final hole to claim the victory, but he only needed one. Mercatoris finished with rounds of 69-67-75 for a 5-under 211 total.
“I kept the ball in play off the tee, which was key because we had ball in hand due to the weather and that allowed my iron play to get me in position,” said Mercatoris. “I had a phone call with my father regarding putting, and he reminded me to work on speed without mechanics and it worked well this week.”
While the leaders struggled down the stretch, Hart, a former Francis Marion University standout from Blythewood, S.C., moved into contention with a 1-under 71 on Thursday. Hart joined Brown (76) in a tie for second at 3-under par.
Drew Ernst of Seneca, S.C., shot a 72 in the final round to finish fourth at 2-under par, while Yoshio Yamamoto (70) and Jordan Walor (72) finished T5 at 1-under par.
Jessie Massie (71) finished seventh at even par, while Zack Byrd (70) and Sam Lyons (73) finished T8 at 2 over.
The NGA TOUR would like to thank all the players and staff at Panthers Run for a great week of play. The Carolina Series will return to action next week at Aberdeen Country Club in Longs, S.C.
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