Birmingham National Invitational: Behr leaves no doubt
Stephen Behr (CC of Birmingham photo)
How do you recover from a disappointing final round? You eagle the first hole of your next tournament.
Of course there were 53 holes to go, but after a three at the par-5 10th to start his round Friday morning at the Country Club of Birmingham, Stephen Behr would post 71-68-73 to capture a four-shot win at the Birmingham National Invitational.
The former standout collegian for Clemson University was fresh off what would have been, on paper, a momentum-building performance at the Azalea Invitational just days earlier. But losing the 54-hole lead and stumbling to the finish line with a 75, though still tying for third amongst an impressive field, could have left some golfers mentally damaged for weeks.
Related: Fernandez de Oliveira rebounds to win Azalea Invite in playoff
Behr pushed through that and found himself with another rewarding amateur crown. The 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur medalist grabbed the 36-hole lead at the Country Club of Birmingham’s West Course with a 68 thanks to six birdies, including twos on all four par-3s. It was good enough for the lowest round of the tournament and one of just two scores in the 60s.
Then in Sunday’s finale, Behr started slow as his first birdie of the day would have to wait until the closing nine. But a two-over 73 was more than enough to hold off his playing partners — Ryan Terry and Jackson Beindorf.
Terry, the first-round leader and winner of the 2020 Florida Azalea Amateur (the final amateur event before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown), shot 75 on Sunday but was one-under on the back to remain within reach and finish runner-up. Beindorf, on the other hand, closed with 39 on the final nine and placed third.
Former Crimson Tide golfer Tyler Hitchner was a comeback-win candidate before bogeying four of his final six holes to tie for fourth with fellow Alabama graduate Stewart Whitt.
ABOUT THE Birmingham National Invitational
This 54-hole stroke play event, formerly
held the weekend after Memorial Day but moved to
November in 2020, dates back to
the early 1900's and is also known as the "NIT". Draws
a field of national-level mid-amateurs.
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