Big Break Greenbrier contestant earns first NGA TOUR win
Ocoee, FL Jan. 24, 2013 – Since it was his birthday, Michael Tobiason was likely going to be celebrating a little bit on Thursday night anyway. But after earning his first NGA TOUR Bridgestone Winter Series victory at Forest Lake Golf Club, the Big Break Greenbrier contestant could be reveling a little longer.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Tobiason, who earned $9,800. “The fact that it happened on my birthday is even better. It’s not easy to win out here with the amount of phenomenal players. I don’t think it’s hit me yet. It felt good to play three solid rounds. This win proved to me that I could do it.”
While Tobiason, a former All-American at Goldey Beacom College, posted three sub-70 rounds during the event, his 9-under 62 in the second round was likely the catalyst in earning his first NGA TOUR victory.
After an opening-round 67 left him at the tail end of the top 10, Tobiason of Wilmington, Del., began to move up the leaderboard early on in the second round, posting three birdie in his first six holes. But he was just getting started. Tobiason carded six birdies and no bogeys en route to a 6-under 29 on the inward nine to take control of the event.
“I was making putts,” said Tobiason. “When that happens, you don’t think about scoring. You’re just trying to birdie every hole. I lost track, and that’s when you play your best.”
The tournament-low 62 gave Tobiason a three-shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round, but past experiences wouldn’t allow his focus to waver.
“I was tied in my State Open and tried not to lose; it didn’t work out,” said Tobiason. “It’s good to have those experiences. So many guys out here can go low that I knew I had to keep making birdies. I had a number in my mind. If I could get to 4 or 5 under, they would have to shoot 63 or 64 to catch me.”
Tobiason reached his number on the 12th hole after posting five birdies and no bogeys, but the final-round jitters crept in after a bogey on No. 15.
“I wish I could say that I wasn’t nervous, but I was,” said Tobiason. “I’d just made my first bogey of the day and the final three holes are tough finishing holes.”
Tobiason picked up pars on Nos. 16 and 17 before finishing in style with a chip-in birdie at No. 18. Tobiason posted rounds of 67-62-66 for an 18-under 195 total and four shots clear of Jesse Smith.
“I’m glad I chipped in so I didn’t have to putt,” said Tobiason. “That’s when the jitters come in. It felt good to see that ball go in the hole and I knew I’d sealed the win. This is one of the biggest wins of my career and it feels great.”
Smith, a former Colgate University standout from Barrington, N.H., finished with rounds of 64-69-66 for a 14-under 199 total and earned $4,777 for his runner-up effort, his fourth top-five finish of the season.
St. Petersburg’s Daniel Stone carded rounds of 70-65-65 to finish third at 13-under par. The former Florida Gator earned $3,920.
James White (68) finished fifth at 11-under par, while Nick Lindheim (66), Harold Varner (69), James Vargas (69) and Vince India (69) finished in a tie for sixth at 10-under par. Michael Buttacavoli (72) completed the top 10 at 9-under par.
The NGA TOUR would like to thank the staff at Forest Lake and all the players for another great event. The BWS will return to action next week at Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary, Fla.
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