ELGIN, S.C. - Adam Long, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., missed one fairway on Sunday in the NGA/Hooters Tour's Woodcreek Classic on The Members Club at Woodcreek and WildeWood. But, ironically, it may have paved the way to his first NGA/Hooters Tour victory.
After missing the short grass for the first time on the first playoff hole of the $200,000 event, the Duke alumnus left his approach a touch short and faced a 25-foot chip for birdie. Long buried his chip, watched as Stuart Anderson missed his birdie putt and then celebrated his first victory.
"I had an awkward stance; I had to grip the shaft of the club because the ball was above my feet," Long said of the chip-in. "I hit it to the spot I was aiming, the slope of the green took it and it went in. It's a pretty amazing feeling."
While the chip-in will be remembered the most, Long's previous 18 holes were just a vital to his $28,000 victory.
Long started the final round T5 and three shots behind third-round co-leaders Anderson and Jeff Corr, but he wasted little time trimming the deficit. The 2011 U.S. Open participant played his first seven holes of the day 5-under par and finished the front nine with a 6-under 30.
"After I seven holes, I thought this could be a special day," said Long. "But the fields out here are stacked, so I knew nobody, including myself, was going to run away with it."
Long carded two more birdies on the backside to finish with an 8-under 64 and headed to the clubhouse with the lead at 23-under par.
Anderson, of Alberta, Canada, was trailing Long by two shots with two holes remaining, but the reigning Canadian Tour Championship winner banged in birdies on the final two holes to force a playoff. Anderson appeared to have the advantage after reaching the green in regulation on the first extra hole, but Long's chip-in proved to be the difference.
"It was really exciting in the playoff," said Long. "There was a nice crowd out here today. And to be able to chip-in to win my first event, you can't ask for anything better."
With the win, Long, who joined the NGA/Hooters Tour in 2010 after a successful collegiate career at Duke, became the second Blue Devil to win in as many weeks, joining former Duke golfer Ryan Blaum, who won the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic on Sept. 4.
"I got a text from Ryan right after I won," said Long. "Duke's known for the basketball team, so it's good to see them get some recognition for golf."
Anderson's second-place finish was his third of the season and paid $13,734.
After starting the day with a share of the lead, Corr, of Longwood, Fla., slipped to third with a 4-under 68 in the final round. Corr earned $8,734 for his podium finish and pushed his season winnings to $139,160.
Kyle Ellis (Senatobia, Miss.) finished fourth at 21-under par and earned $7,734, while Richard Todd (Florence, Ala.) pocketed $6,734 for his fifth-place effort.
Reid Edstrom (Auburn, Ala.) and Daniel Burns (Mobile, Ala.) finished at 19-under par and T6. Ryan Nelson (Dicenson, Texas) finished eighth, while Seth Fair (Brownsburg, Ind.) finished ninth.
Blake Sattler (New Philadelphia, Ohio), Derek Fathauer (Jupiter, Fla.), and Chris Naegel (Chesterfield, Mo.) finished T10. Lee Williams(Alexander City, Ala.), Ryan Blaum (Coral Gables, Fla.), Matthew Harmon (Grand Rapids, Mich.) tied for 13th at 15-under par, while Pope Spruiell (Livingston, Ala.), Ben Briscoe (Old Colwyn, Wales) and four-time 2011 winner Brandon Brown (Shelbyville, Ky.) finished T16.