Garner rallies to win sixth Club ChampionshipPublished 9:56pm Monday, August 19, 2013
Based on how well Paul Garner has played at the Selma Country Club Championship over the years, most in the field knew he was the man to hold off in Sunday’s final round.
Garner shot 68 Sunday, the best round of the championship, to win the Club Championship for the sixth time by one shot over first round leader Will Pearce.
“I played real well. It was great. I couldn’t have done any better,” Garner said. “I got 100% out of my game and couldn’t believe it. Completely unexpected.”
Although the frontrunners Garner and Pearce were not playing together, they did try to keep up with how they stood going into their final nine holes.
“I had a good idea at the turn after nine holes that we were tied, but we weren’t playing together,” Garner said. “I asked about his scores. Somebody texted me that we were tied after we had each played nine holes.”
Both players could only guess where they stood on their inward nine holes, with no score updates coming their way after the turn.
Pearce seemed poised to win the championship after a steady first dozen holes, but disaster struck at No. 13. He missed the green long and then had trouble pitching back up, resulting in a double bogey that allowed Garner to take a firm grasp on a championship trophy he knows so well.
“I missed a short birdie at 11, doubled 13,” Pearce said, recapping a day of missed opportunities. I hit a good shot and it just went too far. It is tough when you get over that green to get up and down. Then, I did make two birdies coming in to get within one. I barely missed a birdie putt on 18 that I thought might’ve gotten me into a playoff at best.”
In hindsight, a birdie at No. 18 would have forced a playoff, although Pearce was unaware of it at the time.
After joking that a rainout might be his best chance to win Saturday night, Pearce nearly got his wish. Rain showers threatened the golf course most of the afternoon, but there was never a stoppage in play. Mother Nature was friendly enough to wait until after the round to unleash a thunderstorm on the area.
Although Garner jokes that he saw Pearce doing a rain dance on the fourteenth tee, he admits the nerves got to him a little bit. He said after realizing he had a real chance to win, he bogeyed two straight holes before settling down.
Kory Taylor won the Hike Eastep Award, which is given to the golfer with the lowest net score. The low net score is deducted by totaling a player’s strokes and subtracting his handicap.
“I’m just glad I was able to play in it this weekend,” Taylor said. “It was just an honor to win the Hike Eastep Award, the low net champion.”