Hunter Hawkins rallies to win Birmingham National Invitational in a playoff
There were a handful of golfers who had their hands on the winner's trophy at the Birmingham National Invitational on Sunday.
and Bradley Sutherland
began the final round tied atop a tight leaderboard and no less than five golfers were within two strokes of the lead. Not included among the group, however, was Hunter Hawkins
, a former UAB golfer who found himself five shots off the pace following rounds of 72-75.
Teeing off approximately an hour before the leaders, Hawkins, who reached the Final 16 of the 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur, opened his final round with 12 consecutive pars and still found himself looking up at the leaders before lightning struck. He managed to birdie four of his last seven holes at the Country Club of Birmingham for a final round of 67 and found himself with the clubhouse lead at 1-over.
Now he had to wait.
After a shaky start that saw Neuheisel make two bogeys and a double over his first nine holes, the reigning Arizona Amateur
champion golfer steadied his ship and picked up birdies on holes 12 and 14 to finish at 1-over par.
got to 2-over with a birdie on 16, but could get no closer and ultimately finished second.
Sutherland was among the leaders until a bogey-bogey finish left him two back at 3-over 216. Richard Douglas
, who began the day one off the pace, suffered the same fate and was included among the golfers that tied for fourth at 3-over.
Nothing came easy for Hawkins all day and the playoff was no different. After the two players twice made par on 18, Neuheisel three-putted from 50 on the third playoff hole (No. 1) while Hawkins managed par, leaving the Fort Payne, Ala. resident holding the trophy.
ABOUT THE NIT
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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