ALDIE, Va. -- Jim Woodward of Edmond, Okla., had declared loud and clear to anyone who would listen that the 18th hole at Creighton Farms was his Waterloo.
As the final 20 minutes of the 24th Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship presented by Mercedes-Benz unfolded Sunday, Woodward may request a photo of the hole for his trophy case.
"I stood on the 18th tee and said to myself, 'Don't be a coward," said Woodward.
The 55-year-old PGA teaching professional at Oak Tree National Golf Club in Edmond uncorked a mammoth drive, then hit a 4-hybrid approach 245 yards on the 569-yard, par-5 closing hole. The ball hit the green some 30 feet in front of the flagstick, coming to rest a foot from the hole. Woodward tapped in for eagle, edging Mike Miles of Huntington Beach, Calif., by one stroke. That made Woodward the first South Central PGA Section member to win the national championship.
Woodward finished with a 1-over-par 73 for a 72-hole total of 1-under-par 287, the only player in a 264-player field to finish below par. Miles, who birdied four of the final six holes, had a 69.
"I'm very honored to be the first from our Section to win this," said an emotional Woodward. "It feels pretty good."
Miles, a PGA assistant professional at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif., nearly made his debut appearance just as memorable. He birdied four of the final six holes for a 69, and waited by the 18th green to witness Woodward's dramatic finish.
"Jim and I are good friends, and I played with him played yesterday, when he had an amazing round (66)," said Miles. "This kind of wind, it makes it tough on everybody. My primary goal was the top 35. I had not played well all summer. We don't play many golf courses like this too often. This is a championship golf course."
Miles had his chance to separate himself on the 18th green. He hit a 3-wood to 25 feet above the hole and lagged the eagle putt to within two feet for birdie.
Woodward earned $20,000 from a total purse of $285,000, and has his name etched on the Leo Fraser Trophy.
Bob Gaus of St. Louis, Mo., who had a 74, and Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Ga., who turned in a 71, shared third at 290.
Woodward said that he stood in the fairway at 18 not knowing how Miles had finished. "Honestly, I thought I was tied with Mike (Miles) at 1 over, and that is why I decided to go for the green in two and make birdie. I didn't know that he had birdied 18," he said. "It would have been a better story if I told you I did know.
"I hit two great putts on 16 and 17 and didn't make either one. I can't believe I killed the driver. Then I thought, if I catch the Rescue club real good, it might roll up there."
Woodward opened the final round with a two-stroke advantage on Gaus and Mike Lawrence of Anderson, S.C., before spinning a bogey-double bogey slump on the second and third holes.
"Everyone is going to have a train wreck somewhere on this course, and I had mine on the first three holes," said Woodward. "The hole that really turned things around for me was the birdie at No. 5. I seemed to settle down after that."
Gaus was taking command with three consecutive birdies between the fifth and seventh holes before his ball found the hazard on the par-4 eighth hole, and came away with a triple-bogey 7.
"Everyone is going to have problems on this golf course," said Gaus. "My goal was to make the top 35, and I am very happy to be in the top five and headed to my hometown next year, and to play Bellerive."
Ralph West of Surprise, Ariz., recorded the third hole-in-one of the Championship on the par-3 207-yard 17th hole. The PGA director of instruction at Reed/West Golf Academies in Peoria, Ariz., used a 6-iron for his third career ace -- all coming this year.
The low 35 scorers advanced to the 74th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 23-26, 2013, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
Begun in 1989, the Senior PGA Professional National Championship is modeled after the PGA Professional National Championship, with a field of 50-and-older senior PGA Professionals who advanced through 41 Section Championships conducted from July through September each year.
The top five finishers earned an exemption into the final stage of the 2012 Champions Tour National Finals. Since its debut, many participants in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship have used their success in the event as a springboard to a Champions Tour career.
Jim Woodward, Edmond, Okla. 78-70-66-73--287
Mike Miles, Huntington Beach, Calif. 70-77-72-69--288
Sonny Skinner, Sylvester, Ga. 71-71-77-71--290
Bob Gaus, St. Louis, Mo. 69-73-74-74--290
Mike Lawrence, Anderson, S.C. 70-75-71-75--291
Bill Britton, Colts Neck, N.J. 71-70-76-75--292
Charlie Bolling, Glen Cove, N.Y. 72-69-77-75--293
Jeff Coston, Blaine, Wash. 74-72-74-74--294
Kirk Hanefeld, Acton, Mass. 70-74-73-77--294
Shawn McEntee, Petaluma, Calif. 74-75-72-74--295
Steve Parker, Houston, Texas 70-72-75-78--295
Gary Robison, Canton, Ohio 70-78-77-71--296
Tom Sutter, Mount Vernon, N.Y. 76-75-73-72--296
Carl Cooper, Humble, Texas 70-75-78-73--296
Ron Skayhan, Huntington Beach, Calif. 74-76-73-73--296
JC Anderson, O'Fallon, Mo. 77-74-71-74--296
James Blair, Ogden, Utah 71-73-75-77--296
Greg Baker, Boonton, N.J. 72-73-73-78--296
Ralph Salito, Sherman, Conn. 74-75-76-72--297
Paul Trittler, Scottsdale, Ariz. 73-75-75-74--297
Lee Rinker, Jupiter, Fla. 71-78-76-73--298
David Young, Scarborough, N.Y. 74-77-73-74--298
Jim Empey, Boise, Idaho 72-78-73-75--298
Stuart Smith, Reno, Nev. 73-74-76-75--298
Chris Dachisen, Warren, N.J. 75-73-74-76--298
Michael Mitchell, Rancho Mirage, Calif. 74-75-73-76--298
Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, Fla. 72-78-81-67--298
Don Berry, Brooklyn Park, Minn. 78-73-75-73--299
Ed Sabo, Tequesta, Fla. 75-74-76-74--299
Robert Thompson, Huntsville, Texas 72-74-77-76--299
Rick Karbowski, Worcester, Mass. 74-74-75-76--299
William Dodd, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz. 77-74-78-70--299
Mark Mielke, East Norwich, N.Y. 70-79-78-73--300
Chris Starkjohann, Oceanside, Calif. 71-76-75-78--300
Tommy Brannen, Augusta, Ga. 75-75-80-70--300
Eddie Terasa, Waukesha, Wis. 70-72-79-79--300
Dal Daily, Albuquerque, N.M. 74-74-73-79--300
Jeff Whitfield, Weldon Spring, Mo. 76-73-76-76--301
Barry Evans, Charleston, W. Va. 76-72-79-74--301
Billy Sitton, Houston, Texas 76-73-79-73--301
Roy Vucinich, Moon Township, Pa. 74-77-76-74--301
Don Sweeting, Pinehurst, N.C. 74-75-75-77--301
Bud Lintelman, Purcellville, Va. 73-77-72-79--301
James Kane, Edmond, Okla. 75-74-72-80--301
Scott Spence, Galena, Ohio 74-74-77-77--302
Bruce Nakamura, Vista, Calif. 69-79-79-75--302
Fran Marrello, Plymouth, Conn. 75-74-77-77--303
Gene Fieger, Naples, Fla. 74-76-75-78--303
Jeff Thomsen, Boise, Idaho 75-76-77-75--303
John Carney, Hoover, Ala. 71-78-81-73--303
Bob Wolcott, Tunica Resorts, Miss. 73-75-74-81--303
Rod Nuckolls, Wichita, Kan. 70-81-77-76--304
George Forster, Villanova, Pa. 75-76-75-79--305
Joey Carranza, Fall City, Wash. 74-75-79-77--305
Tim Parun, San Diego, Calif. 73-77-80-75--305
Bobby Hogan, Tonawanda, N.Y. 77-74-80-74--305
Joe Butler, Burlington, Iowa 73-78-76-79--306
Quinn Griffing, Fort Wayne, Ind. 71-75-82-78--306
Nash Haxel, St. Louis, Mo. 76-75-78-77--306
Rob Phelps, Fayetteville, N.Y. 72-78-81-75--306
Mitch Adams, Troy, N.C. 71-77-83-75--306
Audie Johnson, Lebanon, Tenn. 73-74-82-78--307
Jerry Tucker, Stuart, Fla. 77-74-78-78--307
Ralph West, Surprise, Ariz. 78-73-79-77--307
Gary Groh, Highland Park, Ill. 71-76-85-75--307
Perry Arthur, Plano, Texas 76-73-80-79--308
Chris Tucker, Fort Mill, S.C. 75-75-80-78--308
Bob Ford, Oakmont, Pa. 75-76-82-76--309
Bill Loeffler, Littleton, Colo. 74-77-80-80--311
Steve Veriato, San Marcos, Texas 74-75-83-79--311
Leigh Brannan, Canton, Miss. 75-75-84-77--311
Freddy Gibson, Orlando, Fla. 72-78-80-82--312
Peter Oakley, Palm City, Fla. 71-77-83-81--312
Billy Rosinia, Indian Head Park, Ill. 72-79-81-81--313
Ron Beurmann, Jackson, Mich. 71-80-80-86--317
Bill Stines, Columbus, Ohio 75-76-91-80--322
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