PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – After consecutive bogeys late in his round, Rod Perry of Port Orange, Fla., thought he had squandered his opportunity to win Event No. 3 of the PGA Tournament Series.
Perry got a reprieve Tuesday when Scott Berliner’s final-hole bogey got him into a playoff. Perry knew what to do from there.
The left-hander birdied the second playoff hole, rolling in an 18-foot birdie putt, to win and claim the $5,000 first prize. Perry shot 68 to finish at 9-under 135.
“Things were looking really bad an hour ago,” Perry said. “I was fortunate to get into a playoff. Winning is always fun.”
Perry, the Head PGA Professional at Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club, said he’s won between 10 and 15 PGA Tournament Series titles.
He birdied six of his first 10 holes and chipped in at the par-5 13th for an eagle on the wind-swept Ryder Course at PGA Golf Club. Those red numbers helped him offset four bogeys.
“I like playing in the wind,” Perry said. “The wind makes me focus better. I enjoy it when the wind blows a little bit.”
Berliner of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., also got off to a blazing start, playing his first five holes in 5-under, thanks to a holed-out eagle at No. 2 and three straight birdies. His reaction?
“Just keep going,” he said. “I was a couple shots back and there were some great players ahead of me.”
He added birdies and 12 and 14 to take a one-shot lead into the closing hole. But after a poor drive, Berliner missed a 6-foot par putt at 18 that would have given him his first PGA Tournament Series victory. The 66 was low round of the event.
“Just a bad read,” he said of the par try at No. 18. “With the wind, all in all, I played really well.”
Jeff Sorenson of Blaine, Minn., shot 66 to finish alone in third place at 8-under 136. His highlights included an 80-foot birdie putt off the fifth green and a birdie at the par-5 15 despite having to take an unplayable lie after his drive landed in a bush.
Jeff Wells (68) of Ocoee, Fla., and Frank Bensel (71) of Jupiter shared fourth place at 138.
Wyatt Worthington, who last week became the first African American to win a PGA Tournament Series event, shot 67 and tied for sixth place.
Perry takes over the PGA Tournament Series money lead at $7,550 with three events left. Bob Sowards is second at $6,665, with Worthington third at $6,370.
The PGA Tournament Series is presented by Golf Advisor.
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