Web.com Tour member earns first NGA TOUR win
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – December 13, 2012 – Knowing how to win a golf tournament is paramount to the progress of any aspiring PGA TOUR player. And after five years of coming close, Andy Pope put all the pieces of the puzzle together correctly on Thursday afternoon in the NGA TOUR Bridgestone Winter Series event at Disney – Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.
Pope, a former Xavier University standout from Glen Ellyn, Ill., carded a 67 in the final round to best Joe Affrunti, Chris Ross, Sam Ryder and Lanto Griffin by a single shot en route to his first NGA TOUR victory.
“I needed to learn how to win,” said Pope, a 2012 Web.com Tour member. “I came close out here in the past and had a couple of chances to win on the Web.com Tour this season. I drew off of those experiences. I knew if I could hit a couple of great shots down the stretch I could win.”
Pope produced when he needed it the most.
After a three-putt bogey on No. 16, Pope fell from a share of the lead on the cluttered leaderboard to one shot back. Unfettered, Pope reached the par-5 17th hole in two shots and buried an eagle putt to move atop the leaderboard.
“I knew Joe [Affrunti] was in front of me and we were both 15 under at No. 16,” said Pope. “After my bogey, I saw him make a putt on No. 17. I thought it was for birdie, but it was a par. I felt like I needed eagle to keep pace with Joe.”
Pope notched a par on the final hole of regulation and waited for the final group of the day to finish up. Fortunately for Pope, Griffin and Ryder were unable to birdie the par-4 18th hole, giving the former Musketeer his first NGA victory in his 89th start.
“This course was in great shape, so I knew it was gettable out here,” said Pope, who earned $10,900. “You couldn’t shoot a couple under and win. I knew I needed to make some putts, and I made some on the back nine in the final round. Getting a win like this boosts the confidence and gives me something to build on going into the next year.”
Pope, who posted two top-10s on the Web.com Tour this season, finished with rounds of 66-67-67 for a 16-under 200 total. Affrunti, a 2011 PGA TOUR member from Crystal Lake, Ill., finished with three rounds of 67 and tied for second at 15-under par.
After starting the day with the lead, Griffin of Blacksburg, Va., posted a 2-under 70 in the final round to finish T2, while Ross (Ontario, Canada) and Ryder (Longwood) shot 68 and 67, respectively, to join Griffin and Affrunti at 15-under par.
Seath Fair (67) and Michael Furci (69) finished tied for sixth at 14-under par, Danny Evelyn (69) finished eighth at 13-under par and Riley Wheeldon (68) and Nick Lindeim (68) finished T9 at 12-under par.
The NGA TOUR Bridgestone Winter Series would like to thank all the competitors and staff at Lake Buena Vista for another great event. The BWS will return to action next week at Disney – Magnolia Golf Club.
The NGA TOUR Bridgestone Winter Series would like to thank all the players and staff at Shingle Creek for a great event. The BWS will return to action next week at Disney – Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.
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.
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.
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