Ted Potter Jr. outlasts Troy Kelly in three-hole playoff to win Greenbrier Classic
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:07
In 2004, Ted Potter Jr. missed the cut in every tournament in which he appeared.
But the ambitious pro never gave up.
After missing five straight cuts this season, Potter finally tasted success in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Potter completed a final-round comeback with an eagle putt on No. 17 and a birdie on No. 18 to force a playoff and win the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.
It took three playoff holes against Troy Kelly before the 29-year-old athlete earned his first PGA victory.
"Just amazing feeling right now," Potter said. "Didn’t know what was going to happen coming down the stretch there … so I’m just happy to be here."
Potter entered the day four strokes behind the leader and recent U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.
However, a debacle by Simpson and a push by Kelly led to the exciting playoff between Potter and Kelly.
"I saw where the leader was at 15 or 16 (under par)," Potter said. "When I saw that, I was like, they’re probably going to get to 17 under at least, so I was thinking I was probably out of the tournament."
But Potter was far from out of the tournament. Simpson bogeyed holes No. 12, 13, 14 and 16, and suddenly, Kelly emerged as the new leader.
Kelly looked poised to earn the victory, but the eagle on No. 17 and birdie on No. 18 by Potter shifted all the momentum.
"Some magic came on No. 17 and No. 18 to get me where I am," Potter said. "I was pretty calm for the most part."
Kelly and Potter played the 18th hole first in the playoff, where both players hit par.
Then, on No. 17, Potter was a short putt away from the win, but his ball hit the lip of the hole and rolled off.
"I was just trying to hit the left edge there," he said. "I was just trying to stay calm and go through my routine on the putting. Just got it outside the hole and hit it just a touch harder than I wanted to, but I guess that’s part of nerves there."
The two leaders returned to No. 18 for what would be the final playoff hole.
Kelly’s tee-off shot left him 40 feet away, while Potter’s crafty shot left him just 6 feet from the hole.
This time the champion had no trouble with his short putt.
"I know it’s my first year out here, but just to win, period, it was just a big relief," Potter said.
The tour win earned him a $1,098,000 purse.
Before the victory, Potter’s career earnings combined were less than $177,000. But, he admits, it’s not about the money.
"I just like to win," Potter said.