Leaver wins on 1st hole of sudden death against Francis Marion alum and hometown star Adam Hart
Elgin, S.C. – September 2, 2015 –Grant Leaver, out of Spring Hill, Tenn., has been having quite the year thus far in 2015. He had made 8 of eleven cuts before heading into the Woodcreek Classic being held on the Woodcreek course at the Members Club at Woodcreek & Wildwoode in Elgin, S.C. Those cuts made included five top 20’s, three top 10’s, and a season best T3 at Lady Lake, Fla. The former Austin Peay State University star even qualified for his 2nd career PGA TOUR event, the Barbasol Championship in July. Only fitting Leaver would save his best for last, winning the signature event which traditionally closes out the Swing Thought Tour Pro Series regular season. After four sub-70 rounds and one extra hole of sudden death on the challenging Tom Fazio design, Leaver walked away with the win, his first Swing Thought Tour Pro Series win since the Hilton Garden Inn Classic, his first ever Pro Series event, after just turning professional in 2008.
Leaver’s Hilton Garden Inn Classic win came a little easier then as he posted a final round 66 to beat out a trio tied for second two shots behind him including future PGA TOUR member Russell Knox, future PGA TOUR winner Ted Potter Jr., and future ST Tour Player of the Year Brandon Brown, who currently sits tied for 3rd on the all-time Swing Thought Tour wins list. Future PGA TOUR winner Michael Thompson also finished 7th in the event while future PGA TOUR member Roberto Castro finished tied for 11th. Goes to show in any given week on the Swing Thought Tour, a contingency of the players you are watching will one day be competing on the PGA TOUR, it is just a matter of time.
Another player who finished tied for 11th in that 2008 event would be the one to force Leaver to go the extra distance to win this week’s Woodcreek Classic. That player was former Francis Marion standout Adam Hart. Hart, a resident of Columbia, S.C., started the final round five shots out of the lead and tied for 9th. The former Patriot and hometown favorite, playing with his father Bill on the bag, had a large gallery following him for most of the final round and he did not disappoint. He caught fire early, birding 2 of his first four holes. Then, playing in front of a crowd which included his wife Joanna, mother Brownie and twin brother Luke Hart, a former Francis Marion standout himself who just recently retired from playing professionally, Adam almost holed out from the fairway on 9. After making his birdie putt, Hart was at 13 under par and just three out of the lead heading to the back nine. The gallery for Hart continued to grow as he matched his 3 under par front nine with a three under par back nine and gave him the lead in the clubhouse at 16 under par, tied with former Georgia Tech star Seth Reeves and former Marshall standout Christian Brand, both of whom were still on the course. The gallery would have to wait and watch on 18 to see if the hometown hero’s score would hold up.
The challenging 451 yard par 4 18th hole at Woodcreek had played as the toughest hole of the event all week, surrendering only 25 birdies while causing 99 bogeys and even 31 double bogeys during the four day event. Par on 18 was a good score on a normal day but especially good on this final day with a tough pin placement, tucked away and hidden to the front left side of the green, on a slope that would make even the top PGA TOUR players cringe.
First the hometown crowd would watch as the next to last group, featuring Brand and Mississippi State alum Chad Ramey, would come walking down the 18th fairway. Both players had just birdied 17, which got Brand to -16 and tied for the lead with Hart and Reeves, and Ramey to -15, leaving him needing birdie on 18. Brand would finish first, making bogey after a tough lie, and finishing at -15, and knocked out of the lead. Ramey had a chance at birdie but just missed his putt and had to settle for par and a tie with Brand at -15.
That left the final pairing of Leaver and Reeves as they both approached 18 tied for the lead with Hart. Reeves, the third round leader out of Suwanee, Ga., had gotten to -17 and, for a moment, had the outright lead after birding 14. However a bogey on 15 brought him back to -16 and needing a birdie on 18 to win outright. Leaver, who had matched the low round of the tournament with a 64 in his third round to get to within a shot of Reeves and into the final pairing of the event, had just birdied 17 to get to -16 with Hart and Reeves. Reeves would hit his approach first, going at the pin, but finding trouble in the thick zoysia grass between the green and the front greenside bunker. Leaver’s approach couldn’t have been much better, landing on the front left of the green and leaving him with a 20 foot uphill putt for a chance at the win. Reeves would go first but, coming out of the thick grass, found it hard to get any relief. Reeves would have to scramble for a double bogey, leaving him at 14 under par for the event and tied for 5th. Leaver would then attempt his putt at birdie and the win. However his putt missed just high, as so many had throughout the day, leaving him a tap in par and a need for a playoff with Hart to determine a winner.
After the cards were confirmed, the duo was escorted back to 18 tee box to compete in sudden death. Hart would hit first and his drive on 18 would find the middle of the fairway, lying however on a slight downslope. The big hitting Leaver, a former basketball star who even played a season for Austin Peay, would put his ball about 10 yards past Hart’s, only sliding a yard right into the rough. Hart would hit first, taking dead aim at the pin, and coming up just short of the green. However his ball had found the same high grass that had given Reeves trouble just minutes earlier. Leaver, with a good angle coming right to left, would leave his ball just to the right of the pin and 20 feet for birdie across a steep slope. Hart did his best to get out of the rough with his third shot and left himself with a challenging putt for par. Leaver would attempt his birdie for the win first and just missed. Hart then missed the challenging par putt he had leaving Leaver to tap in for his par and the win.
Leaver received $20,000 for the win and jumped to over $41,000 in earnings for the season. Hart received $9,980 for finishing runner-up. Brand and Ramey each took home $7,380 for finishing tied for third while Reeves and former Wake Forest Demon Deacon Evan Beck each earned $5,380.
The Swing Thought Tour would like to thank Woodcreek Classic Tournament Director Jeanie Atkinson, Volunteer Chair Tudy Clark, Tour Liaison Stan Luallin, Members Club at Woodcreek & Wildewood General ManagerBarbara Jodoin, Director of Golf Matt Tracy, Director of Grounds Sam Friar, and the entire Membership, Volunteers, Housing, and Staff at the Members Club at Woodcreek & Wildewood for conducting such a great event, once again, for our tour and our professionals! We look forward to a return trip in 2016!
For full 2015 Woodcreek Classic results visit:
Next up for the Swing Thought Tour is a three tournament run in September including a 54-hole riding event atWeb.com Tour 1st Stage Q School host Callaway Gardens – Mountain View in Pine Mountain, Ga. September 14-18, the 72-hole $140,000 Okefenokee Classic at Okefenokee Golf Club in Blackshear, Ga. September 21–26, and a 54-hole riding event at Web.com Tour 1st State Q School host Highland Oaks in Dothan, Ala. September 27-30. Competitors may sign up for these events by contacting the Swing Thought Tour offices at 800-992-8748 or going online to register at http://www.swingthought.com/shop/.
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