COLUMBUS, GA (June 18, 2016) -- Third time was the charm for Jared Bettcher, last year's runner-up, at the Southeastern Amateur. The Troy University senior finished 7-under and three clear of the field following a final round 2-under 68 at the Country Club of Columbus.
Bettcher began the round with a one-stroke lead but couldn't have started his final round off any better. On the 548 yard par-5 opening hole Bettcher put his tee shot into the left rough and still had 239 yards left to a downhill green. With the wind helping Bettcher pulled 5-iron and knocked it stiff to three feet and an easy eagle.
"(That eagle) helped everything," Jared Bettcher said. "It erased all my nerves and I was like now I can go out and hit the ball."
Bettcher also got a little help as Virginia sophomore Ashton Poole, who began the day one back, bogeyed the first hole, helping the 2015 All-Sun Belt First Teamer extend his lead.
Despite the hot start the final round was not without some tense moments. Following a birdie on No. 4 to reach 8-under-under Bettcher bogeyed the 5th and then double-bogeyed No. 6.
"After the double-bogey on the 6th I was like well I am still even-par, so I thought well nothing to worry about," Bettcher said.
On the 7th, one of the easier holes Bettcher was able to get a stroke back with a birdie before dropping another on the 8th.
"The 7th is one of the easier birdie holes and I hadn't birdied it all week so I told my caddie Addison Nix that I was due," said Bettcher. "Making the turn at 1-under after all the flip flops was a huge momentum booster for me."
On the back nine Bettcher was able to play nearly mistake free golf. He birdied the 13th to move back to 7-under before his only three-putt of the week resulted in a bogey on No. 15.
Leading with three-holes to go Bettcher made some gutsy pars on the 16th and 17th holes. On the par-3 16th he rolled in a 10-foot par putt and then on the 17th after short siding himself he chipped it to three feet and made the ensuing par putt.
Bettcher then closed the tournament in style with a birdie on the 18th.
"I came in with the mindset of being so comfortable with the course. I have played it so many times and I was just so confident in my swing all week long," Bettcher said.
"It really means everything (to win the Southeastern Amateur) because it has been a while since I won a tournament. This is by far one of the biggest tournaments that I have won and it was just a huge momentum booster. I have always known that I could win these tournaments and now that I have finally done it I know there is more to come," Bettcher continued.
Incoming North Carolina State freshman Benjamin Shipp finished in a tie for second with David Snyder at 4-under. Both players tried to make a final round run but came up short.
Ashton Poole who started the day one behind faltered a bit during the final round and shot a 4-over 74 to finish even-par in a tie for fourth.