Ted Potter Jr. goes from struggling rookie to PGA Tour winner — As any winner on the PGA Tour will tell you, the first victory is always the toughest. The nerves coming down the stretch, and the pressure to finally break through and lock up a spot for the next couple of years can turn even the best players into headcases coming down the stretch.
There's no question Ted Potter Jr. wanted to join the ranks of tour winners on Sunday afternoon. But the funny thing is, he wasn't even thinking about winning coming into the week. He was just trying to make the weekend and cash a check after missing the cut in his last five starts prior to the Greenbrier Classic.
"When you're missing cuts every week, you get down on yourself," Potter said. "I mean, it's hard to pick yourself back up. But the plus side for me is I was still young. I just knew I had plenty of time and just be patient and it will come back around again."
Potter's patience and persistence paid off in a big way with a two-year exemption and a $1,098,000 million check for his eagle-birdie finish that allowed him to get into a playoff with Troy Kelly, and then win the tournament with a birdie on the third playoff hole. That's not a bad way to end the roughest stretch of your rookie season on tour.
Troy Kelly and his replaced hip post come up short — Like Ted Potter Jr., Troy Kelly was journeyman trying to find his place on the PGA Tour. The 33-year-old, who was forced to have hip replacement surgery at the age of 30, came close to realizing his dream at the Greenbrier, but his troubles on the par-3 18th hole during a three-hole playoff with Potter -- he failed to get the ball anywhere close to the back right hole location -- kept him from becoming a first-time winner.
But don't feel too bad for Mr. Kelly; he did leave with a couple of nice parting gifts, including a $658,800,00 check (his largest payday to date) and a spot in the British Open.
Webb Simpson collapses on the back-nine — Everything appeared to be in place for Webb Simpson to pick up his second win of the season on Sunday. With a two-shot lead over a couple journeyman in Potter and Kelly, all Simpson had to do was keep the mistakes to a minimum, make a couple birdies, and cash the winner's check.
If only it was really that easy. Simpson held it together on the front-nine, but the moment he made the turn, everything started to fall apart. After bogeying the par-5 12th hole, Simpson picked up another bogey on the par-4 13th when his ball found the creek off the tee. He would add a third consecutive bogey on the par-4 14th and another on the par-4 16th to fall out of contention.
Simpson's rarely struggled over the last year when he's been in contention, but on the final seven holes we learned that even recent major champions winner are prone to the occasional collapse.
"I felt really confident and then just got on a bad run there," Simpson said. "I'm probably going to learn something from it. Have to learn the hard way."
It's time to give John Daly some credit for his recent play — We tend to talk about John Daly's on-course antics and questionable fashion choices more than his golf game, but that's changed over the last seven months, as Daly went struggling major winner to Mr. Consistent with his second straight top-20 finish at the Greenbrier.
Daly has now made 10 cuts in 12 starts this year, and his 5-under 65 on Sunday was his second straight sub-66 final round in his last two PGA Tour tournaments.
Daly may never win again on the PGA Tour, but it's nice to see him finding his game for the first time in ... well, it feels like forever.
Charlie Beljan produces a shot to remember during the final round — PGA Tour rookie Charlie Beljan picked up his largest payday this year at the Greenbrier Classic with a T-3 finish, but he'll likely be remembered for this chip-in birdie on the 13th hole on Sunday. After the ball rolled into the cup, Beljan produced a celebratory spin and fist-pump that would've made Jeff Overton proud.
While the shot was sweet, Peter Kostis noted later in CBS's broadcast that Beljan came within a couple inches of rolling his ankle on the curb. Seriously, take a look at how close he came to eating it during the celebration. Yikes.
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