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Potter breaks through, wins The Greenbrier Classic

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On the commercials that feature the PGA Tour’s catchphrase is “These Guys Are Good,” the guys they show are all the familiar faces that typically populate the leaderboards. But on a week when most of those players were either absent or underperforming, some other guys got a chance to shine.

The result: yet another first-time winner as Ted Potter Jr. birdied the third playoff hole to defeat Troy Kelly and win the 2012 Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. Ranked 218th in the world, Potter overcame a four-stroke deficit with five holes to play, finishing with his second straight 6-under 64 to match Kelly at 16-under. Kelly closed with a 66.

“I made a few putts on the front nine, and just tried to stay close and make some more on the back nine,” said Potter. “I just tried to plug along and make birdies.”

A Tour rookie, Potter’s best previous finish had been a T-13 at the Sony Open early in the season. Kelly, in his second season on the PGA TOUR, had a chance on the par-5 17th to take a one-shot lead, but missed his 10-foot birdie attempt. He made par from just inside four feet on the par-3 18th to earn his spot in the playoff.

Both Potter and Kelly had finished in regulation at 16-under par 264.

A native of Ocala, Fla., the left-handed Potter was a teen golf phenom, blowing away the competition on the youth circuit. But like many young stars, he quickly found himself surrounded by local heroes trying to earn their bones on the bigger stages. After earning his way onto the PGA Tour by finishing second on the money list on the Nationwide Tour, Potter had struggled to find his footing, missing the last five cuts prior to the Greenbrier.

In a tournament that story lacked starpower with the Europeans absent and both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson missing the cut, the path was clear for new blood to make its presence felt. U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson started the day as the prohibitive favorite with a two-shot lead on the field. But he carded four back-nine bogeys while stumbling to a final round 73 and a T-7 finish.  World No. 5-ranked Simpson and No. 50 Kevin Na were the only players in the top 50 among the tournament’s top-10 finishers.

This was the third straight close finished on the Old White TPC Course. Scott Stallings beat Bob Estes and Bill Haas on the first hole of a playoff last year for his maiden PGA Tour victory, and Stuart Appleby shot a 59 to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke in 2010.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

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  1. Troy Vayanos

    Jul 9, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Yes another 1st time winner on the PGA tour. This trend just keeps on happening in the last 18 months or so.

    My tip for the 2012 British Open is another 1st time major winner.

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Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

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