PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jake Scott of Strongsville, Ohio, cruised to victory on Sunday at PGA Golf Club, using a final-round, 2-under-par 70 for a 271 total and a seven-stroke victory in the 36th National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF.
Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Neb., the first-round leader, posted a final-round 73 for a 278 total and finished alone in second.
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL PGA ASSISTANT CHAMPIONSHIP
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North Carolina natives Scooter Buhrman of Fayetteville, and Charles Frost of Pineville, tied for third at 279.
A PGA apprentice at Elyria (Ohio) Country Club, Scott built on his 54-hole, four-stroke lead with an early trio of birdies on the front nine on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club, and never looked back.
"I knew that I couldn't let up, no matter what kind of lead I had. The players here are just too good," said Scott. "In the middle of the front nine, I made three birdies in a row and got rolling with the putter, which carried me through the rest of the round."
Scott's seven-stroke victory was just one shot shy of the Championship's largest margin of victory mark of eight, which was set by three-time Champion Kyle Flinton of Edmond, Okla., who accomplished the feat in 2005.
"You never really feel comfortable about winning a Championship like this until the final putt drops," said Scott. "I had a few wild shots in the middle of the round, but was able to right the ship and stick to my game plan of being aggressive, and it paid off."
The 25-year-old Scott, who was making his debut in the PGA Assistant Championship and played the Wanamaker Course for the first time during a practice round on Tuesday, was extremely pleased with his play throughout the week and grateful for the chance to win a prestigious National Championship.
"It really is an honor to win a Championship like this," said Scott. "With such a strong field and so many great players, it's a satisfying feeling to win in the fashion I did."
Scott collected $9,000 of the $100,000 purse.
Vermeer, a PGA apprentice at Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha, was a bit disappointed with his play over the weekend, but pleased to finish alone in second.
"I could have played better, but to close with a birdie at 17 and a two-putt par on 18 to finish second was good," said Vermeer. "I didn't want to start with a four-shot lead over third place and give that back, so that part is satisfying."
Two-time defending champion Frank Bensel of Purchase, N.Y., posted a final-round 70 and finished in a tie for 21st.
Following play on Friday, the field was reduced to the low 70 scorers and ties, with 72 players making the cut at 6-over-par 150.
The 2012 field featured the top four finishers from last year's Championship as well as 122 players who advanced through their PGA Section Championships.