SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Chris Wilson two-putted for birdie from 12 feet on the first playoff hole and defeated fellow Northwestern alum Scott Harrington to win the Web.com Tour's Price Cutter Charity Championship.
The two former Wildcats were knotted at 21-under 267 after four trips around the Highland Springs Country Club course and forced the seventh playoff in the tournament's 23-year history but the first since 2000.
"It's comforting knowing I can perform when it matters most," said Wilson, who picked up a check for $112,500 and vaulted from No. 165 to No. 23 on the money list. "Anyone can do it in practice."
Wilson hadn't been doing much of anything positive this year and had missed 11 of 13 cuts prior to the start of the week. A trip to famed sports psychologist Bob Rotella in Virginia a few weeks back might have been the turning point for Wilson.
"We simplified a lot of things," said the Tour's 11th first-time winner in 17 events. "We changed my approach to putting and that's helped to eliminate a lot of the distractions I was having."
Wilson entered the week ranked No. 132 out of 136 players in putting. The 27-year old from suburban Columbus, Ohio improved that stat dramatically over the past four days and finished T8 in the category.
"I've been close the past couple weeks," he said while maintaining a tight grip on his first trophy of any kind since a mini-tour win in 2008. "When you have confidence in your putter it just frees up every other aspect of your game."
Wilson started the final round one shot back of 54-hole co-leaders Harrington and David Lingmerth and remained patient while posting nine pars on the front and falling behind several early starters who were chalking up birdies at a rapid pace.
Things turned on the back when Wilson busted a driver to within 65 yards of the green on the 394-yard, 10th hole.
"We hadn't hit driver there all week but the wind was down and from left to right," he said. "It just set up perfectly for us."
A pitch to close range resulted in his first red number of the day. The 2006 Big 10 Conference Champion turned back into the wind and hit a driver, 4-iron to 20-feet on the par-5, 11th and canned the putt for eagle to get him into contention at 19-under par.
Meantime, up ahead, Robert Streb closed out a 65 and posted an 18-under score. Matt Hendrix followed with a 66 to go one better at minus-19. Andy Winings, a Monday qualifier like Harrington, finished with a flourish to put 20-under on the board.
Harrington was a 21-under and looked in control until his second shot from the heavy rough at sailed over the green at No. 17 and resulted in a bogey, dropping him into a tie with Wilson.
Wilson, in the group directly ahead, went at the green at the downhill, 542-yard, 18th with a hybrid. His ball bounced up against the grandstand and he chipped to 15 feet after taking a drop.
"I didn't know what was going on behind me," he said. "I figured I needed birdie."
Wilson's clutch putt was right in the heart for a bogey-free 67 and the clubhouse lead.
Harrington then hit a 4-iron to the middle of the green and two-putted for birdie to tie Wilson and extend the afternoon.
"I've known Chris a while and we're good friends," said Harrington, who exited the Evanston, Ill. Campus just as Wilson was arriving. "If I could be in a playoff with anybody in this field, it would be him."
Harringon and Wilson were side-by-side in the fairway at the reachable par-5 but Harrington's chances were dashed quickly when his 5-iron splashed into the water, well right of his intended target.
"I had the exact same yardage as I did in regulation but there wasn't any wind this time," he said. "I got a little quick and came out of it. It was probably the worst shot I hit all week."
Wilson focused on the center of the green but he pushed his 3-iron from 227 yards a bit.
"I knew I had a bunch of room over if I needed it. I was aiming at the middle of the green," he said. "I knew it was the right distance and was fortunate the wind didn't move it too much."
Wilson's shot went directly at the flag and stopped just in the fringe, about 12 feet away. When Harrington's 35-foot par putt slid past the cut, Wilson had three to win. He needed two, the final from only a few inches away.
• Chris Wilson had made only two cuts in 13 starts prior to this week and had earned only $6,486. Wilson played on the PGA TOUR in 2010, making seven cuts in 26 starts.
• Scott Harrington was a member of the Web.com Tour in 2004 and 2008 and has played on several mini-tours since. His runner-up finish will earn him a berth in next week's Midwest Classic in Kansas City. His paycheck for $67,500 is more than enough to earn Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the year, starting in two weeks with the next reshuffle. Harrington was born in Eugene, Oregon and graduated from Northwestern in 2003.
• Andy Winings is a conditional member of the Tour this year. He was 3-for-6 in cuts made and entered the week No. 163 on the money list. Winings' solo third was worth $42,500 and moved him up to No. 75 on the money list.
• Scott Harrington was trying to become the 21st Monday Qualifier to win in Tour history. The last to do it was Ted Potter Jr. at the 2011 South Georgia Classic.
• Florida grad Camilo Benedetti tied for fourth this week and moved up two spots to No. 17 on the money list. Benedetti now has made 11 cuts in 16 starts and finished in the top-10 five times and in the top-25 eight times.
• Robert Streb's 7-under 65 today was his lowest final round of the year. Streb is a rookie and this was his third top-10 finish in 15 starts. He also moved up five spots to No. 21 on the money list.
• Former Arkansas Razorback David Lingmerth shot a final-day 71 to tie for sixth after starting the last round as one of the 54-hole co-leaders. Lingmerth also moved up two places on the money list to No. 19.
• Ben Kohles, winner of the past two events on Tour, fell out contention Saturday with a 1-over 73 that derailed his chances to make it three wins in his first three professional starts. Kohles shot a 4-under 68 Sunday and wound up in 60th place. Kohles, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, established Tour records by winning his first two professional starts -- at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational two weeks ago and the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha last week.
• Luke Guthrie tied for 10th this week, giving him three top-10 finishes in his first three weeks on Tour. Guthrie, a two-time Big-10 Player of the Year from Illinois, lost a playoff to Ben Kohles at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational and tied for third at last week's Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha. Guthrie, who also has three top-25 finishes in three PGA TOUR starts this summer, is No. 20 on the money list with $133,850.
• Five of the past seven Price Cutter Charity Championship winners were entered this week
2005 Roger Tambellini 68-68-71-71?278 (-10) T47
2006 Doug LaBelle 67-70-66-72?275 (-13) T27
2007 Tom Scherrer 72-77?149 (+5) m/c
2009 Justin Bolli 67-67-68-73?275 (-13) T27
2011 Steve Friesen 72-71?143 (-1) m/c
• The best rounds of the day:
65 -- Joseph Bramlett, Matt Harmon, Aron Price, Robert Streb, Andy Winings
• Course statistics this week:
Front 9 (36) Back 9 (36) Total (72)
R1 34.846 34.846 69.692
R2 35.740 35.455 71.195
R3 34.448 34.239 68.687
R4 35.612 34.612 70.224
Cumulatitve 35.212 34.930 70.142
• The Web.com Tour next moves to the Kansas City area for the Midwest Classic presented by Cadillac. The tournament will be held at the Nicklaus Golf Course at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kan. Aug. 13-19.