I really felt bad for Blaine to see him dump one in the water there, but (overall) it was a good day.” WADE GAUTREAU, BR Amateur winner
Four rounds of golf in 36 hours weren’t enough to determine the Baton Rouge Amateur champion, so the key players went to extra holes Sunday afternoon at Santa Maria Golf Course.
Wade Gautreau and Blaine Patin each shot a closing round of 2-under par 70 to position themselves at the top of the eight-man leader board, but it was Gautreau who came through on the third playoff hole to claim the title.
Playing Santa Maria’s par-3 17th, Gautreau hit first and put his tee shot 20 feet past the hole. Patin followed, but pulled his shot left into a water hazard.
Gautreau two-putted for his par to win the hole, and the championship.
“I really felt bad for Blaine to see him dump one in the water there, but (overall) it was a good day,” Gautreau said. “I still can’t believe it.”
While Patin had to settle for second place, Brandt Garon, Peyton McCulloch and Scott Haynie each shot 72 to tie for third.
“Two-under usually wins this,” said six-time champion Haynie. “The way they set the course up makes it pretty hard.
“I had opportunities to make birdies, and I just didn’t putt well. It would have helped if I had hit it a little closer, but it was fun today.”
Gautreau was seeded 40th after gaining entry through last weekend’s qualifying tournament at Webb Park. Sunday, he started his day with a 2&1 third round match play win over Chris Husser to earn a spot in the final round.
It was the second time Gautreau has advanced to the amateur’s final eight, but the first time he has won. Gautreau’s win marked the first time the tournament has gone to a sudden death playoff since Donny Schmitt won in 2006.
“I don’t know what it was, but I was a little calmer out there this time,” Gautreau said. “I wasn’t nervous until I found out on 14 that I had the lead. Then I made two bogeys.”
Gautreau knocked his approach shot on the par-4 13th to within three feet. He made the putt to move to 4 under on his round, but gave shots back on the next two holes.
A three-putt at 14 cost Gautreau one shot. At the par-5 15th, he pulled his second shot into a pond , and eventually took bogey. Gautreau missed a 10-foot birdie putt at 18 that would have won the tournament in regulation.
Playing in the group ahead of Gautreau, Patin hit the back fringe at 18 in two, and two-putted for his birdie to post a score of 70.
“I played well all weekend,” said Patin, who only had three bogeys during the tournament. “My chances were in regulation, and I felt pretty fortunate to get into a playoff. At one point (on the back nine), I heard Wade was 4-under and I was only 1-under at the time.”
Patin, who made the turn at 1-under, had all pars on the back nine. But on the first playoff hole, he got a break that nearly turned the tables on Gautreau.
Playing 18 for the second time, Patin chose to go for the green with an iron from 200 yards out in a fairway bunker. The shot came out low, but skipped on the pond guarding the green just enough to clear the bank.
Lying two just short of the green, Patin watched as Gautreau hit his third stroke 30 feet past the pin. Gautreau two-putted for par, and Patin’s 5-footer for birdie slid right.
The playoff moved to the 16th hole, where Gautreau nearly holed a 15-foot chip. Patin missed a 10-foot birdie as both made pars to set up the decisive play at 17.
“I was aiming right of the flag, and pulled it a little,” Gautreau said of his tee shot at 17. “When it hit the green the slope brought it closer to the hole.”
Close enough for Gautreau to two-putt for his first Baton Rouge Amateur title.