Valdosta Daily Times

April 18, 2013

Looking back at the first 6 Classics

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — One week from today, some of the most up-and-coming professional golfers will be teeing off in the first round of the Tour’s South Georgia Classic at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.

This year’s event will mark the seventh year the Tour has come to Valdosta. Here is a look back at the first six South Georgia Classics:

 The tournament began in 2007, and John Kimbell claimed a one-shot win with a tournament score of 10-under par. He received $108,000 for the win.

Since Kimbell’s win in ’07, no Classic winner has shot a higher score and won the event.

In the 2010, Ewan Porter shot an 11-under par and won the event by one stroke, claiming a $112,500 check, the same prize money awarded since 2008.

The past two years, 2011 and 2012, the Classic winners have shot a tournament-record 16-under par.

In 2011, Ted Potter Jr., a Monday qualifier, shot a 70-69-65 and 69 to win the event. Potter Jr. won the event by three strokes, the scond largest margin in tournament history.

Last year, Luke List won the South Georgia Classic, joining 2008 champion Bryan DeCorso as the only tournament champion to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. List shot an opening round 67 and followed it up with rounds of 68, 69 and 68 to shoot a 16-under par. List won the event by two strokes over Brian Stuard.

Since the tournament’s commencement, no champion has held the lead following the first day. Three of the champions (DeCorso, Garth Mulroy and List) have led following the second round.

Kimbell and Porter are the only champions of the Classic to not be the leader following the first 54 holes and have had to overcome a deficit in the final round.

In the tournament’s history, there has never been a tie for the lead following the first round. There has been a tie atop the leaderboard following the second round just one, while the lead has been shared by multiple golfers three separate times following the 54th hole.

All six previous South Georgia Classic winners were underdogs heading into the week. None of the six were leaders of the Tour’s (formerly the Nationwide Tour) money list and none of the champions had previous wins on the Tour prior to winning the Classic, except for Porter in 2010.

In 2011, Potter Jr. won a Monday qualifier at Thomasville’s Glen Arven Country Club just to make the Classic field.  

Since the tournament began in 2007, the South Georgia Classic has been the longest tournament on the Tour. In fact, the South Georgia Classic is the second longest tournament between the PGA Tour, Tour and Champions Tour, second only to the PGA’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

With a brutal distance that is well over 7,700 yards, the South Georgia Classic fits the strengths of golfers that can drive the ball far off the tee.

While some are able to hit the ball far off the tee, that doesn’t mean those golfers are locks to win the tournament. Of the six past champions, only two (Mulroy and List) finished the year in the top five in driving distance on the Tour.

Mulroy finish1ed the 2009 season fourth in driving distance, while List led the Tour in 2012.

The South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Company begins Monday with the playing of a Pro-Am at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. The week continues Tuesday and Wednesday before the tournament officially begins next Thursday.