Final round charge earns Caleb O'Toole Spirit of America title
Caleb O'Toole shot a final round 65 to win the Spirit of America Golf Classic
(photo: Burningtree CC)
birdied eight holes in his final round, including three in a row on his inward nine, to overtake Sam Murphy
to win the 2021 Daikin Spirit of America Golf Classic title Saturday at Burningtree Country Club in Decatur, Ala.
O’Toole, who played collegiately at Western Kentucky, shot a final round 65 and took advantage of Murphy’s struggles to win Burningtree Country Club’s long-running fundraising tournament held annually in conjunction with Decatur’s Spirit of America Festival.
Murphy, who began the day with a two-stroke lead at 6-under par, began his final round like he was going to runaway and hide from the field. The Louisiana Tech golfer birdied the first and fourth holes to move to 8-under but saw his lead evaporate after struggling over last five holes of his outward nine. He bogeyed the sixth hole and made a double bogey on the eighth after his tee shot went out of bounds. Murphy’s back nine didn’t start any better as he bogeyed the 10th hole.
With Murphy struggling, O’Toole was on a birdie brigade. Eight birdies led to a final round 65 and a two-stroke win over Murphy, who finished at 6-under par for the tournament. It was quite a turnaround for the Pinson, Ala. native, who opened the tournament with a 3-over 74 on Wednesday before playing his last three rounds at 11-under par, carding scores of 66-71-65.
It’s not the first time a member of the O’Toole family has won the Spirit of America Golf Classic. Caleb caddied for his older brother Michael when he won the same tournament in 2014.
"I feel like I learned something from caddying,” he said. “You know I try to get something every time I’m at a golf course and I learned a lot from my brother caddying and I just pretty much implemented that to this. I knew if I played good around here, I had a chance to win and that’s what I did.”
ABOUT THE Spirit of America
The Spirit of America Golf Classic is Burningtree
Country Club's long-running, fundraising
held annually in conjunction with
Decatur’s Spirit of America Festival, which itself is
of the largest, free Fourth of July festivals in the
south. Established in 1967, this unique "college
individual" format event has been
home to collegiate players and top amateur
from across the nation. The format is 72-holes of
stroke play, with a 54-hole
collegiate team division. The "Spirit"
tournament boasts many top graduates, like 1995
Champion-turned-PGA tour player Heath Slocum,
1989 Junior Champion-turned-PGA tour player
Starting in 2020 the golf tournament will be a coed
event. The plan is to have 30 two-woman teams and
man teams. The women’s teams will be invited and
not have to pay an entry fee.
View Complete Tournament Information