Evan Harmeling earns maiden Korn Ferry Tour title at Savannah Golf Championship
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Written by Sharon Shin @WebDotComTour
SAVANNAH, Georgia – Battling a crowded leaderboard on Sunday, Evan Harmeling emerged victorious for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, winning in a playoff over Kevin Dougherty. After making a 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff, Harmeling won with a birdie on the first playoff hole.
Harmeling entered the final round with a one-shot lead, but fell back with bogeys on Nos. 7, 8 and 12 to sit at 18-under. Dougherty seemed to take control of the situation with six birdies through his first 15 holes for a two-shot lead, but an untimely bogey on the par-3 17th brought Harmeling back into the conversation. Paired together in the final group, Dougherty’s lead was cut to one with one hole left to play.
After both players hit their third shots to approximately 10 feet on the par-5 18th, Harmeling made his birdie putt first to put the pressure on Dougherty, posting at 21-under 267.
“It really wasn’t a difficult putt,” Harmeling said. “It was just right outside edge from about 12 feet or so. It was nice that I got to go first. That was huge.”
Needing to sink his birdie putt for the win, Dougherty’s putt missed above the hole and the two headed back to No. 18 for a sudden-death playoff.
Following a perfect drive on the first extra hole, Harmeling continued to put the pressure on Dougherty, hitting his second shot to 10 feet. After finding the fairway bunker with his tee shot, Dougherty was forced to layup and failed to stick his third shot close, hitting it to 25 feet. Dougherty was unsuccessful with his birdie attempt, leaving Harmeling with an easy two-putt victory.
“I thought I did a good job of staying hungry,” said Harmeling. “I came out attacking. I definitely wasn’t comfortable coming out here with a one-shot lead. I liked the mindset that I had.”
Harmeling matched the 72-hole scoring record at 21-under 267 in the third edition of the Savannah Golf Championship. The Princeton University grad recorded the first top-10 finish in his rookie season and moved to No. 32 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list.
Dougherty recorded his third career runner-up finish on the Korn Ferry Tour and his first top-10 of the season. Despite the disappointing finish, the 29-year-old will be looking forward to his wedding next week in California, where he will be reunited with his fiancée after two months on the road.
The Korn Ferry Tour heads to Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, next week for the Orange County National Championship presented by Knight 39.