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Potter Outlasts Kelly; Takes Greenbrier Classic for First Tour Title
A couple of journeyman faced off in a sudden-death playoff at the Greenbrier Classic after both finished tied through 72 holes at 16-under 264. On the third playoff hole, the par-3 18th at the Old White TPC at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., Ted Potter Jr. carded a birdie to edge Troy Kelly for his first victory on the PGA Tour.
The 28-year-old Potter, a native of Florida, closed with a 6-under 64 to rise up and tie Kelly, a 33-year-old from Tacoma who shot 66, and send the tournament into extra holes. When both players parred the first playoff hole, the 18th, they went to the par-5 17th.
After his second found the front-left greenside bunker, Kelly had an awkward stance and his third shot stopped in the fringe. After a so-so chip to 22 feet, the former University of Washington player sank his par putt. The left-handed Potter could have won at that point, but the player who turned pro at 19 immediately after graduating from high school missed from 4 feet.
Off they went again to No. 18, which Potter had birdied in regulation to reach the playoff. His tee shot ended up in about exactly the same place - 4 feet, while Kelly's was 44 feet away. Kelly hit his birdie try to tap-in distance before Potter drained his putt to become the sixth first-time Tour winner this season.
Almost as soon as the tournament was settled, Tour officials shepherded the players off the course as a threatening storm approached.
The victory was worth $1.098 million, 500 FedEx Cup points, a spot in the 2013 Masters and a two-year Tour exemption. Potter went from 173rd in the season-long FedEx Cup to 51st in the standings.
Kelly, who received an artificial hip in September 2010, settled for $658,000. Both sums were, by far, the biggest the two players ever earned as professionals.
Charlie Wi closed with a 5-under 65 to share second place with Charlie Beljan (67) at 14-under 266, while Daniels Summerhays had a 64 for solo fifth at 267. Martin Flores (67) took sixth at 268, and sharing seventh another stroke back were Robert Castro (63), Kevin Na (65), Sean O'Hair (66), Ken Duke (70) and third-round leader Webb Simpson (73).
Simpson, who won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club last month, had a two-stroke lead entering Sunday. After a birdie on the front side, the North Carolinian struggled on the back, posting four bogeys on Nos. 12-16.
Simpson will shift his focus to family as his wife, Dowd, is expecting to deliver the couple's second child within three weeks. Because of that, Simpson will skip the British Open, which starts July 19 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.
Defending champion Scott Stallings, who notched his first Tour victory last year, closed with a 71 to end up tied for 56th at 2-under 278.
Tom Watson, Greenbrier's pro emeritus, shot a 75 to finish T-73 at 4-over 284. The 62-year-old now heads to Michigan for the U.S. Senior Open, which starts Thursday at Indianwood Golf and Country Club.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard.