ORLANDO, Fla. (July 20, 2008)--In a comeback of heroic proportions, Clemson junior Kyle Stanley overcame an 8-shot deficit over the final two rounds and holed a 35-foot birdie on the first playoff hole to win the 102nd Southern Amateur Championship at Lake Nona C.C.
Ranked No. 3 among the world’s amateurs, Stanley posted a 14-under-par 274 and was the leader in the clubhouse for nearly two hours waiting to see if that score would hold up.
He was tied at 274 by Florida amateur champ Jude Eustaquio of Lake Worth and Pennsylvanian Mike Van Sickle. While the latter pair could manage only pars on the hole, Stanley rolled in his birdie to join such elite golf names as Bobby Jones, Lanny Wadkins, Vinny Giles and Justin Leonard on the short list of players who have won the storied old tournament more than once.
“That’s such an honor to join that list,” said Stanley, who won the Southern Am two years ago in Birmingham. The victory also earned him a return trip next spring to play in the PGA Tour ’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, which awards a berth to the Southern Am winner each year.
“I can hardly describe the feeling. Winning a tournament like this is so great,” said Stanley, who was not as chipper after bogies on two of the first three holes in his third round, dropping him 8 shots behind the leaders. From that point on, he was 13-under par over his closing 34 holes, including the playoff.
South Carolina All-SEC golfer George Bryan, FSU’s Matt Savage and Australian Tim Stewart finished two shots back at 276.
Bryan tied the Lake Nona course record with a sizzling, 9-under-par 63, becoming the first amateur to go that low.
Blake Trimble of San Diego had lowered the amateur mark to 64 a day earlier.
As a measure of the field’s strength, the previous Lake Nona amateur record of 65 was matched or bettered eight times during the tournament. . The 103rd Southern Am will be played at Colonial C.C. in Memphis next July.