Lefty Ted Potter Jr. tapped in for birdie on the second playoff hole to win the Soboba Golf Classic Sunday. Potter defeated PGA Tour rookie Andres Gonzales and Miguel Carballo to become the third two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour this year. The victory was worth $135,000 and moved the 27-year-old to No. 3 on the money list with only five events left on the schedule.
Potter, winner of the South Georgia Classic in May, increased his season total to $362,452 and assured himself of a trip to the PGA Tour in 2012. The 25 leading money winners at the end of the season will earn Tour cards for next year.
The trio tied at 14-under 270 at the end of regulation and were forced into the first playoff in the tournament’s three-year history.
Gonzales birdied his final two holes in regulation for a 7-under 64 and posted the first 14-under score at The Country Club of Soboba Springs.
Carballo followed suit in the next group, closing with consecutive birdies for a 6-under 65 and a share of the clubhouse lead.
Potter, playing in the final group with third-round leader Jonas Blixt, also birdied the 18th hole for a 66 to make it a three-man overtime session and just the second playoff on tour this year. Potter had a chance to win it in regulation but missed a 12-foot eagle putt.
Blixt, who started the day at 11 under with a two-stroke lead, gave three strokes away midway on the back nine to fall out of contention. The former Florida State All-America recovered with a birdie on the final hole for a 1-under 70 and a share of fourth place at 12-under 272 with Australia’s Jarrod Lyle (67).
Both Potter and Gonzales birdied the hole again the first time around in the playoff, but Carballo was eliminated when his second shot went over the green and he failed to get up and down from about 100 feet.
“The wind changed a little bit,” said Carballo, who used an 8-iron in regulation but opted for a 6-iron for his second shot in the playoff. “I just didn’t want to leave it short.”
The 32-year-old from Argentina missed a 15-foot birdie putt. Potter two-putted from about 35 feet for birdie and Gonzales saw his eagle chip come up inches short, send the two back to the tee at the 521-yard, dogleg-right closing hole.
On the second extra hole, Gonzales missed the fairway to the left and wound up in a back bunker about 60 feet from the cup. Potter’s tee shot wound up in the left side of the fairway and he stuffed a 7-iron to about 15 feet for eagle.
“I hit a decent bunker shot and the green was running away,” said Gonzales. “I didn’t want to leave it on top of the ridge. Once it got going down the ridge, I knew it wasn’t going to stop. I needed to give it a chance.”
Potter missed his eagle putt, then Gonzales missed for birdie, leaving Potter a short tap-in for the win.
“I wasn’t trying to lag it down there, I was trying to make three,” said Potter, who birdied the hole three times in less than an hour. “I thought it was going to take 3 to win it but fortunately I made 4 and it was enough.”
--Ted Potter tied for first in greens in regulation this week, hitting 53 of 72 for a 73.61 percentage. He also hit the green in both playoff holes. Potter ranks No. 6 on Tour in the GIR category (74.87%).
--Leading money-winner J.J. Killeen shot a final-round 69 and tied for 10th. Killeen, a native of the San Diego area, earned $20,250 this week and pushed his season total to $407,554 to become just the 14th player in Nationwide Tour history to go over the $400,000 mark in a single year. His total ranks him 13th-best on the all-time list but there are still five events left on the schedule.
--John Mallinger celebrated his 32nd birthday Sunday with a 4-under 67 and a tie for sixth, his fourth straight top-10. The Long Beach, Calif., resident has tied for third, second, second and now tied for sixth in his last four starts. He is No. 10 on the money list with $212,331. The tour record for most consecutive top-10 finishes is 6 by Doug Martin in 1993.
--Miguel Carballo was looking for his first win on tour since he won the 2007 Movistar Panama Championship in his first-ever start. This was the 121st start of his career. A runner-up check moved him from No. 60 to No. 23 on the money list.
--New Zealand’s Tim Wilkinson moved up 13 spots to No. 66 with his tie for sixth. Wilkinson now has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last three starts.
--Lefty Tim Wilkinson had only 96 putts in four days, one shy of the tour’s all-time record for fewest putts in 72 holes. Wilkinson started with 24 putts Thursday, and then had 24, 22 and 26 the next three rounds. Grant Waite holds the Tour mark with 95 putts at the 2003 Miccosukee Championship. Earlier this year, Steve Wheatcroft needed only 96 putts at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open, which he won by a tour-record 12 strokes. Wilkinson finished 63rd out of 64 players in Greens in Regulation (35 of 72/48.6%).
--Former Florida standout Matt Every pushed his way into the top 25 on the money list with a tie for sixth. Every jumped nine spots to No. 20.
--A 15-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole also gave former Florida State star Jonas Blixt a boost. The native of Sweden earned enough to jump from No. 10 to No. 6 in the standings.
--At this same point a year ago, there were 17 players over the $200,000 mark and eight above the $300,000 mark. Currently, only 11 players have earned more than $200,000 this season and just three have topped the $300,000 total.
--At this same point a year ago, Scott Gutschewski was No. 25 on the money list with $162,042. Brenden Pappas is currently No. 25 on the money list with $134,331 – a difference of $27,711.
--Former University of Georgia standouts Russell Henley and Harris English made their first professional starts this week. Henley finished at 3-under and tied for 31st, while English was 1-under and tied for 49th.