Ted Potter Jr. struck gold on Sunday at the South Georgia Classic. 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.
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“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 a tie for 11th 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 4 ½-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 5 on the par-4 12th hole in the second round and ended when he made a 5 on the same hole in the final round.
--All four past winners of the South Georgia Classic were in the field this week: John Kimbell (2007/-5/tie for 18th), Bryan DeCorso (2008/+12/71st), Garth Mulroy (2009/-5/tie for 18th) and Ewan Porter (2010/-1/tie for 38th).
--Bogey-free rounds in the final round: Ken Duke (66), Daniel Chopra (68) and Ryan Armour(70).
--Ted Potter is the fifth left-handed player to win on the Nationwide Tour. The others were Greg Chalmers at the 2008 Henrico County Open and 2005 Albertsons Boise Open; Eric Axley at the 2005 Rex Hospital Open; Steve Flesch at the 1997 Tour Championship; and Vic Wilk at the 1994 Knoxville Open.
--Seven Monday qualifiers finished in the top 25: Matt Boyd (tie for 24th), Brian Harmon (tie for 24th), Matt Hendrix (tie for 10th), Troy Kelly (tie for 24th), Brent Long (tie for third), Michael O’Neal (tie for 24th) and Potter. All of those in the top 25 get into next week’s Stadion Athens Classic at UGA.