Valdosta Daily Times

February 24, 2013

Former Blazer Witcher earns first eGolf Tour title at Oldfield Open

The Valdosta Daily Times

OKATIE, S.C. — Former Valdosta State golfer Brent Witcher earned his first career eGolf Tour title on Saturday at the Oldfield Open.

Witcher, an Atlanta native, shot rounds of 66, 67 and 72 for a three-round score of 205. He earned $15,000 for winning the tournament.

Strong area storms and heavy rain during the morning of the final round left an already-saturated Oldfield Country Club course unplayable, forcing tournament officials to cancel the fourth round, in turn deeming the tournament to be official after 54 holes.

“Unfortunately, we entered Saturday morning with the golf course soaked from the Friday rain, and the course was unable to drain to the point where it would be deemed playable,” said eGolf Tour tournament director Ben Case. “It was still raining at the time when we canceled the final round, and the golf course likely would not be even remotely playable until Sunday afternoon at the earliest.”

For Witcher, the rain-shortened event delivered his first career eGolf Tour title, thanks to an 11-under 205 total that gave him a one-shot win over Jack Fields of Southern Pines, N.C.

“I woke up telling myself to be ready to play golf, and to be ready for bad weather,” said Witcher, 27. “I just tried to do the same things I’d done all week. The last thing you want is to assume you’re not playing, and then have to go out there not prepared mentally.”

Entering Friday’s third round, Witcher was the event’s 18- and 36-hole leader following a 66-67—133 start to his week. Steady winds and afternoon showers made scoring difficult on day three, putting Witcher at even-par 36 on the turn.

On the back nine, which would turn out to be his final nine of the week, Witcher bogeyed the par-4 10th, turned eagle putts into back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12, and got up-and-down for bogey at the watery par-3 13th to remain even par for his round.

Errant tee shots into trees on 14 and 15 forced him to pull out clutch up-and-downs for par, keeping him at 11-under par.

At the simplistic par-4 17th, Witcher’s second shot from 80 yards out carried three yards too far, leaving him with a three-putt bogey from the back fringe – at the time dropping him to 10-under on the week, tied with Fields.

“I saw a scoreboard earlier on the back nine, and knew that a lot of guys were making birdies on Nos. 10 through 12,” said Witcher. “I just figured that someone was going to get to 10-under par, so I needed to keep trying to make birdies.”

On his 54th hole – the double dogleg par-5 18th – Witcher hit his third shot to 30 feet, setting up a potential go-ahead birdie at the last. With the threat of heavy storms on the Saturday horizon, the former Valdosta State star converted the birdie at 18 to move to 11-under through three rounds, and one shot clear of Fields. As it turned out, his lengthy birdie bomb was the winning putt for the week.

“It ended up being a much bigger putt than I thought it was at the time,” said Witcher after the final round was canceled. “You always want to play and compete, but I’ll certainly take the win.”

The win was Witcher’s first on the eGolf Tour, bettering a prior-career-best finish of T10 at the 2011 Willow Creek Open. The 2009 NCAA Division II Player of the Year was a member of the Tour in 2012, making 10 starts and posting a season-best finish of T30 at the South Georgia Classic at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta.