MIDLAND, TEXAS I With the 2011 Nationwide
Tour making the turn for home, players near
the top of the money list come October probably have done what they’ve needed to do to
earn a PGA Tour card for next year.
But those, say, near the final 10 of The 25?
They know a big weekend can make things a
whole lot more comfortable down the stretch.
It took extra work, but Danny Lee now has
that extra breathing room. Lee beat rookie
Harris English on the first playoff hole Sunday
to win the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Tex.
The former U.S. Amateur winner from
New Zealand was the No. 14 Nationwide Tour
money-earner coming in, having recorded six
top- 10 finishes. His first U.S. professional title
puts him near the middle of the top 10 in winnings, and with four tournaments remaining
this season, his PGA Tour card for 2012 looks
much more secure.
A 62 Saturday at Midland Country Club
thrust English into contention, and he and
way to Danny Lee, seen here at the Chiquita Classic, picked up his first U.S. win at he WNB Golf Classic.
finish at 270 and force the playoff.
The players returned to No. 18, where
English had made birdie on Saturday and Lee
carded four pars. Another par for Lee won it
when English made bogey.
The victory comes after Lee’s shortened
weekend nine days earlier at the Nationwide
Tour’s Soboba Golf Classic in California. He
stopped playing halfway through his second
round because of a wrist injury and was disqualified for not notifying event officials before
leaving the course.
Lee’s U.S. Amateur win came in 2008,
when – at 18 years, one month – he broke Tiger
Woods’ record to become the youngest player
to hold the title. His 5-and- 4 defeat of Drew
Kittleson in the final at Pinehurst earned Lee a
spot in The Masters in 2009, where he did not
make the cut.
English, a 22-year-old University of Georgia
product, was playing in his second tournament
as a professional.
In July, as an amateur, he won the
Nationwide’s Children’s Hospital Invitational in
Columbus, Ohio. And in September he won both
of his singles matches for the United States
team at the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen
South African Garth Mulroy began the day
tied for 28th place, but used an final-day, 8-un-
der 64 to jump to third place at 16-under 272.
B.J. Staten held the 54-hole lead. But he
bogeyed four holes (Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9) on the
front nine Sunday to fall from contention. Two
more bogeys on the back nine left him in a
four-player tie for 10th place.
Na Yeon Choi
defends her title
on her home soil in
South Korea at the LPGA
Na Yeon Choi
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