2012 All-Nicklaus selection bests Allen John in playoff
Harmony, Fla. – Just three years ago, Keegan Bradley was battling for a win in the Bridgestone Winter Series at Harmony Golf Preserve. While Bradley came up short that day, finishing second, his career took off in the subsequent years.
One of the NGA TOUR’s newest stars, Blayne Barber, hopes to follow Bradley’s path to the pinnacle of the game. And if he keeps up his torrid pace, the 2012 All-Nicklaus selection out of the University of Auburn will be there sooner than later.
Barber of Lake City, Fla., finished the Bridgestone Winter Series event at Harmony Golf Preserve with a 13-under total to force a playoff and bested Allen John on the first extra hole on Thursday to earn his fourth victory in six starts on the NGA TOUR.
“It’s cool to see all those guys that have come through here have success at the next level,” said Barber, who earned $9,620. “I had a minor setback a few weeks ago, but I know that I’m progressing and having fun. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. If I keep doing that, it’s going to equate to more success and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Barber’s last win on the NGA TOUR came in the Q-School Prep Series event at Hombre Golf Club, where he cruised to a three-stroke victory. On Thursday, however, Barber would need to grind out a round to defeat John, a Georgia State alumnus.
After shooting a 66 and 64 to start the tournament, Barber built a three-stroke leading going into the final round – and the 2012 All-American needed every bit of it. Over the first 36 holes, the former Tiger card just bogey, but he ran into some trouble on the inward nine in the final round.
Barber bogeyed the 11th hole and double bogeyed the 13th. He bounced back with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16, but Barber missed a short put for par on the final hole of regulation that left him tied for the lead, which, ironically, gave him confidence for the playoff.
“I thought I had a three-footer to get into the playoff,” said Barber. “When I found out I was in a playoff, I knew it wasn’t over and took advantage of it.”
Barber made par on the first extra hole to defeat Allen and pushed his season earnings to over $50,000.
“I played excellent in the first two rounds. I was simple effective golf and it equated to some good scores,” said Barber. “I struggled a little bit today, but I hung in there and was able to capitalize at the end. My other wins weren’t easy, but I didn’t make any mistakes. This win gives me confidence because I was able to win without my best.”
While he came up short of his first NGA TOUR victory, John’s runner-up effort was a career-best for the former Panther and his third top five in his last four starts on the Bridgestone Winter Series. John, of Mannheim, Germany, finished with rounds of 65-70-68 and earned $4,870.
Jay Mulieri of Silver Spring, Md., posted the lowest round of the day (67) and moved into third place at 12-under par in the final round. Mulieri, a former Loyola University Maryland golfer, earned $4,075.
Hernan Piri Borja carded a final-round 70 and finished fourth at 11-under par, while Chase Wright (70) and Gregory Huxman (73) finished tied for fifth at 10-under par.
Robbie Greenwell (68) and Zach Lee (70) earned a share of seventh after finishing at 9-under par. Sam Ryder (69), Jarrod Barsamian (70), Joel Dahlenburg (70), Chris DeJohn (70) and Kevin Hall (71) finished T9 at 8-under par.
The NGA TOUR would like to thank all the players and staff at Harmony for another great week of play in the Bridgestone Winter Series.
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