Monday qualifier Potter Jr. wins first Nationwide titletext sizeMay 01, 2011
Adam Wallace, Nationwide Tour Staff
VALDOSTA, Ga. --Ted Potter Jr. struck gold on Sunday at the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank & Trust Co. The left-handed Monday qualifier set a new tournament record of 16-under 272 to win his first Nationwide Tour event and collected $112,500.
Potter, who earns Nationwide Tour membership with the win, entered the final round tied with Canadian Jon Mills but quickly separated himself from the field with three birdies on the front nine and never looked back. He went on to make two more birdies on the back nine, offset by one bogey, en route to a 3-under 69.
"I was more nervous after I finished the round," said Potter, the fifth left-handed golfer to win on Tour. "I was fine most of the day. I was just trying to draw back on my past experiences and focus on every shot. I don't know how to describe it. I was nervous and happy."
The two-time NGA Hooters Tour Player of the year -- 2006 and 2009 -- finished three strokes in front of the Nationwide Tour money leader Mathew Goggin.
"This win ranks as my highest ever," said Potter, the first Monday qualifier to win since Kyle Reifers won the 2006 Chattanooga Classic. "I've won on other Tours and they were really nice but this one means a lot more right now."
Potter Monday qualified for the event by firing a 66 at Glen Arven Country Club in Thomasville, Ga. This week was his 56th Nationwide Tour event. Potter was a member of the Tour in 2004, 2007 and 2010. In 2004 he played in 24 events and missed every cut. The other two years he made a combined total of six cuts in 31 starts with a best finish of T11 at the 2010 Chattanooga Classic.
"Going forward hopefully I can play more consistently than I have in the past," said Potter. "I used to be more of a risk taker than I am now. I think you have to play conservative on certain holes and then there are holes you have to go for. It depends on where the pins are located. It's all about learning how to manage your game and I think I'm finally starting to do that."
The 27-year-old had a 35-hole stretch this week without making a bogey.
"The goal this week was to finish in the top-25 and get into next week's event," he said. "Hopefully this will sink in before I play in Athens."
It's a four-and-a-half-hour drive to Athens from Valdosta so Potter will have plenty of time to reflect on his win and pot of gold.
• Ted Potter Jr.'s 35-hole stretch without a bogey began after making a five on the par-4 12th hole in the second round and ended when he made a five on the same hole in the final round.
• Ted Potter is the fifth left-handed player to win on the Nationwide Tour: Greg Chalmers, Henrico County Open, 2008; Albertsons Boise Open, 2005 Eric Axley, The Rex Hosp. Open, 2005 Steve Flesch, Tour Championship, 1997 Vic Wilk, Knoxville Open, 1994
• There were seven Monday qualifiers that finished in the top 25: Matt Boyd/T24, Brian Harmon/T24, Matt Hendrix/T10, Troy Kelly/T24, Brent Long/T3, Michael O'Neal/T24 and Ted Potter, Jr./1st. The top-25 finishers get into next week's Stadion Athens Classic at UGA.
• Ted Potter Jr. led the field in birdies with 23.
Scoring averages for the week Front 9 Back 9 Total Thursday 36.344 36.688 73.032 Friday 36.405 35.905 72.311 Saturday 35.958 35.380 71.338 Sunday 36.690 35.535 72.535
• Second-round co-leader Jon Mills fell back to T18 after a final-round 7-over 79.