MRTYLE BEACH, FL (July 17, 2016) -- A Sunday 6-under 66 propelled Virginia senior Jimmy Stanger to a 12-under-par total and a win at the 2016 Southern Amateur, played at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. Stanger began the day three-strokes off the pace, before firing the round of the tournament and rallying to win by one-stroke over Oklahoma State sophomore Zach Bauchou.
"My mindset at the start of the round was to just play my own game and try to make a few birdies early on," Jimmy Stanger said.
And make birdies he did.
Playing in the final group, Stanger, an All-ACC first teamer this past season, got his round started with his first birdie of the day on the 2nd hole. However, the round for Stanger really got going on the 529 yard par-5 4th.
A strong drive, left Stanger 220 yards from the pin and a solid 4-iron resulted in a 20-foot eagle putt. With a chance to reach 9-under, the UVA star rolled in the right to left putt.
"That eagle was huge simply because it was the first putt I saw drop." said Stanger. "I had a birdie on No. 2 but I hit my approach to a foot so the eagle was really the first putt I saw fall and it really jump started me for the rest of the day."
The surge continued with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to reach 11-under and turn in 5-under 31. On the back nine Stanger birdied No. 11 before giving it back with his lone bogey of the day on the 14th.
Following two pars Stanger made the birdie that would end up being the difference maker. The 17th hole plays at 370 yards and a hybrid off the tee left Stanger 120 yards from the pin. Stanger's approach shot then landed 15-feet from the pin. The ensuing putt gave him the lead.
"It's a funny story, I didn't look at a leaderboard all week as part of a mental strategy, so I didn't know where the two players I was with were. I had a feeling that it was close and that if I made par on the last hole I had a chance, fortunately I was right," said Stanger.
The par on the par-4 home hole was a straightforward one, as the Virginia Caviler blasted his drive 320 yards down the fairway, setting up a flip wedge shot that stopped 10-feet from the pin.
Zach Bauchou, 11-under, did add some pressure by knocking in a 20-foot birdie putt from off the green to get within one but on this day, Stanger would not be denied.
"This is my best (win) by far," Stanger said. "The Southern Amateur is a top-10, arguably top-5 tournament in the country and to play one of the best rounds of my life in that situation I am truly blessed and I thank the lord. It is a huge win and a blessing to be able to share it with my family and friends at school, that were cheering me on."
The birdie on No. 18 for Bauchou, lifted him into second place alone, while 54-hole leader, Seton Hall senior Lloyd Jefferson Go, finished 10-under and in third after a 1-under 70 final round. Defending champion Taylor Funk of Texas led after each of the first two rounds before finishing 9-under and in fourth while three finished 6-under and shared fifth.
Weather caused play to start and stop much of the week as Stanger got off to a slow start with a first round even-par 72. That Thursday score, ended up being his only round not under par as he followed it up with a 4-under 68 and a 2-under 70.
Hole-In-One Note: Jacksonville State's Bo Hayes had a hole-in-one on the 5th hole of the final round. The 5th is a 212 yard par-3.