Late Birdies Propel Foley to eGolf Title
Kevin Foley, a former three-time All-American at Penn State University, holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the eGolf Tour’s Pine Needles Classic and the $29,000 first-place check.
The tournament, held at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club and Seven Lakes Country Club, came down to the final putt as Foley finished birdie-birdie to break a deadlock with Bruce McDonald of Zimbabwe, who was in the clubhouse at 15 under par.
The birdies gave Foley a 16-under-par 269 total and his first eGolf Tour victory.
But as important as those two birdies were, Foley credited a par on the par-3 16th as being just as vital.
“Sixteen was huge today,” he said. “It’s really an underrated hole. I was able to put a 6-iron safely on the green, but Clint (Jensen) and Chesson (Hadley) were in the bunkers and made bogeys. I really wanted to make birdie there, but I knew that par still made up some ground.”
Hadley, of Raleigh, who held the lead after 36 and 54 holes, closed with 70 and tied for third with Adam Long of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., for third at 14 under par.
McDonald, who birdied four of his first nine holes in the final round on Saturday, closed with nine consecutive pars on the back nine to hold the lead.
But Foley used a birdie on the short par-4 ninth hole to get to 12 under and close to within three of McDonald. Birdies at 11 and 12 got him to minus 14.
“I made par at the 10th hole, where all you’re thinking about is birdie,” Foley said, “but luckily I was able to get things together with birdies on the next two holes. That’s when I started paying attention to the leaderboard.”
Hadley got to within a stroke of the lead with a birdie at 15, but gave it back when his tee shot on 16 plugged in a bunker and he made bogey.
Still a shot in back of McDonald, Foley hit his approach shot to within 15 feet of the cup on the tough par-4 17th and rolled in the birdie putt to draw even.
“My normal ball flight is left-to-right, so when I saw that front-right hole location, I knew I could hit a good shot,” he said
While McDonald headed to the practice range to prepare for a possible playoff, Foley hit a picture-perfect 3-metal that split the fairway on the par-4 18th, leaving him with a pitching wedge to the green and back right pin.
“I took a little less club and swung hard,” he said, “because I knew it wouldn’t go over the green. It came up a little short — about 35 feet short — but it gave me a look at birdie, and that’s all I really wanted.”
It was all he needed, too, as he rolled it home for the closing 67 and the win. All that was left was a fist-pumping celebration.
“I had a good read on the putt and hit it with perfect speed,” Foley said. “It seemed like it was the last revolution that got the ball in the hole. It was unreal.”
McDonald, a former College of Charleston player, picked up $16,111 for second place, his best finish on the eGolf Tour.
Ryan Linton of Pinehurst tied for 11th with 275, shooting 10-under-par 67-71-69-68—275 and earning $3,672.
Franks Adams III, a tour veteran and former Laurinburg resident who now lives in Salisbury, shot 278 and won $2,363.
David Sanchez, a former N.C. State player who worked and lived in Pinehurst before relocating to Huntersville, shot 282 and won $1,593.
Jack Fields of Southern Pines opened with a 69 and closed with a 71 to shoot 289 and finish 57th. He earned $1,190.
Information for this article was provided by Stewart Moore of the eGolf Professional Tour.
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