By Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour staff
NEWBURGH, Ind. – They played as long as they could on Sunday at the second annual United Leasing Championship presented by Professional Transportation, Inc. When darkness finally fell four players were tied for the lead, which forced the tournament to a rare Monday finish on the Web.com Tour.
Australia’s Ashley Hall (66), Ben Martin of Clemson (67), Joe Affrunti (70) and third-round leader Billy Hurley (72) are deadlocked at 11-under and will return to the Victoria National Golf Club early Monday to determine a winner.
A nearly four-hour delay due to afternoon thunderstorms combined with some shocking late-round developments to push the Tour to a Monday conclusion for the first time since 2006.
All four players are in search of their first career win on Tour. The playoff will start at 7:45 a.m.
Hurley and Affrunti were in the final twosome and most of the water-logged afternoon appeared to be a two-man race as they hovered around the 13-under mark.
Hall slowly made his way up the board with the day’s best score, a 6-under 66 that gave him the temporary lead.
Martin, who’s been knocking on victory’s door for several weeks, followed up with a 67 that tied him with Hall, though neither realistically thought they might wind up in a playoff.
Hurley was only two-under through 15 holes but bogey-free on the day and tied with Affrunti, who tallied seven birdies and three bogeys to that point. The pair stood on the 17th tee two shots clear of Hall and Martin, who were in the clubhouse.
Hurley, steady all week with only two bogeys through 69 holes, dumped his second shot into the water hazard and made a double-bogey to drop back into a tie at minus-11.
Affrunti appeared in command after hitting the green in two but wound up four-putting from 50 feet to make it four at 11. Affrunti was stunned when his second putt from 5 feet lipped out and his 3-foot comebacker did a power lip 360 degree turn.
“You can see my reaction on tv I’m sure. I mean the ball’s in twice and it still lips out,” said Affrunti. “It is what it is, just hit a better putt. I still had a chance on 18 but I didn’t hit a good shot in there but two putts and we’ll take our chances tomorrow.”
Hurley, a former Lieutenant in the Navy, was in command for the majority of time this week after holding two-shot leads after both the second and third rounds.
“Obviously looking back at 17 you might have done something different but I thought I had to go down there in the hazard and try to hack it up around the front of the green to have a chance to win,” he said. “You couldn’t have predicted anything like what happened at the end.”
Fourth-Round Notes & Quotes:
-- A total of 35 of 73 players had completed their final round when play was initially suspended
-- Sunday’s suspension of play is the sixth time in 14 tournaments this year that play has been halted. Last week’s Rex Hospital Open was also delayed in the final round (1:15 to 3:30 p.m.).
-- None of the four players in the playoff have won on the Web.com Tour. Below is a list of the number of career Web.com Tour starts for each (includes this week):
- Ashley Hall -- 23rd
- Billy Hurley -- 38th
- Joe Affrunti -- 40th
- Ben Martin -- 40th
-- Joe Affrunti is the only member of the four who has been involved a playoff to date. He lost the 2010 Chattanooga Classic to Scott Gardiner.
-- The four-man playoff ties the Web.com Tour record for most players in a playoff. It has happened 12 times previously – the last came at the 2007 WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas, where Brad Adamonis defeated Tjaart van der Walt, Vance Veazey and Ron Whittaker.
-- The last time there was a Monday finish on Tour came at the 2006 PalmettoPride Classic in Charleston, S.C. The final group needed two holes to complete regulation play and then Michael Sim defeated Ken Duke in a playoff.
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