T.J. Howe finishes second, one back
Longs, S.C. – Joseph Poplin had to make a couple of big decisions of late. First, after giving up the game and getting a job, Poplin came back to the game. Second, after nearly changing putters following the first round, the former Guilford College golfer decided against it.
Both decisions proved to be correct on Thursday in the NGA TOUR Carolina Series event at Aberdeen Country Club. Poplin of Eden, N.C., fired a 1-under 71 in inclement conditions in the final round and held off T.J. Howe to win by a single stroke.
“I took some time off and didn’t play much over the last two years,” said Poplin. “I just decided I wanted to play again. I’ve been practicing hard for the last six months and it’s paying off. I knew I was playing good, but to win this early, I’m psyched. I left a good job to come back out here and I’m happy I gave it another shot.”
He’s also elated with second decision.
“My driver and iron play has always been good,” said Poplin, “but I’ve struggled with my short game. I really thought about switching putters after the first round. I’m glad I didn’t, because I shot 5 under on Wednesday.”
Poplin’s 67 in the second round moved him to within one shot of leaders Paul Brown, Jordan Walor and Yoshio Yamamoto going into the final round. But when the players got to the course on Thursday, it was clear the weather would be the main competitor.
Faced with high winds, cold temperatures and incessant rain, Poplin managed to carded three birdies and two bogeys in the final round and claimed his second victory on the Carolina Series. Ironically, Poplin’s first victory came in similar conditions.
“I don’t know why I play well in tough conditions,” said Poplin. “I think I just focus more and grind it out. I felt like par was going to be a great score today and it was.”
Poplin finished with rounds of 72-67-71 for a 6-under 210 total and earned $5,245 for the victory. Howe of Osceloa, Pa., carded rounds of 69-72-70 to finish second with a 5-under 211 total and earned $2,600.
Colin Biles (72), Brown (74) and Walor (74) finished in a tie for third at 4-under par, while Yamamoto (75) came home sixth at 3-under par.
The NGA TOUR would like to thank all the players and staff at Aberdeen Country Club for another successful Carolina Series event.
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 incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR 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.
At last year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School, 52% of those earning full exempt status on the PGA TOUR and 67% of those earning full exempt status on the Web.com Tour were past NGA Professionals. Another 16 NGA Professionals advanced to the PGA TOUR for 2012 by finishing inside the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list, including 2011 NGA members Ted Potter Jr., Russell Knox and Billy Hurley III.
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.
For more information on the NGA or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, please visit our website at www.NGATOUR.com or contact our Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.