Watch Auburn golfer sink clutch putt to take down Alabama for SEC title
By Matt Stevens
AUBURN -- Auburn golfer Wells Padgett got to experience something normally more common for baseball, basketball players -- a walk-off win.
In the final match of the 2018 Southeastern Conference championship at the Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course, the freshman sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win Auburn's first conference title in 16 years.
No matter what Padgett does throughout the rest of his college career, and remaining life for that matter, he'll go down in Auburn sports history as one of the few athletes in school history to experience a walk-off win against the the Tigers' biggest rival. Padgett's putt and 1-up win over Alabama's Jonathan Hardee clinched a 3-2 win.
"That was the biggest putt I've ever made in my life," Padgett said. "It was great being able to do it for my team. To do it as an individual in a tournament is cool, but doing it for your team is the greatest feeling."
Auburn head coach Nick Clinard had his freshman from Wichita, Kansas, in the anchor spot all week during the SEC championship after he finished the three-day stroke portion at 7 over par, but Padgett won his quarterfinal match and his championship match Sunday. Padgett's semifinal match against LSU would've gone to the 18th hole, but his four Auburn teammates had already clinched the match with victories.
"It was a tough match out there," Clinard said. "Alabama is great. We just fought to the end. My anchor, Wells Padgett, was the anchor all week in match play. We had him in that hole because we knew his confidence level in that spot and we knew that he could come through in the clutch and, boy, did he ever."
Padgett and Alabama's Jonathan Hardee were all square heading into the final hole after Hardee nearly aced the par-3, 17th hole and Padgett actually three-putted before conceding the hole to Hardee. Alabama had momentum in the anchor match before circumstances changed drastically on the final hole.
Auburn's first point of the match came from southpaw Brandon Mancheno in a 2-and-1 victory over Alabama's Wilson Furr. The freshman led for all but three holes before clinching the win with a par on the 17th hole. Auburn junior Trace Crowe, who finished third in the individual stroke play format, won his match over Alabama's Davis Ridley 2-and-1.
With the conference title, Auburn has clinched an automatic berth into the NCAA regionals. The NCAA Selection Show is set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on The Golf Channel. Regionals will take place May 14-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina; Bryan, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Kissimmee, Florida; Norman, Oklahoma; and Stockton, California.
2018 SEC championship final, match play
Auburn 3, Alabama 2
Lee Hodges (Alabama) beat Jovan Rebula, 2-and-1
Trace Crowe (Auburn) beat Davis Riley, 2-and-1
Davis Shore (Alabama) beat Ryan Knop, 6-and-5
Brandon Mancheno (Auburn) beat Wilson Furr, 2-and-1
Wells Padgett (Auburn) beat Jonathan Hardee, 1-up
This article is written by Matt Stevens from The Montgomery Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.