English closed with a one-under 70 to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational by one stroke. He finished at 14-under-par 270.
The Georgia Bulldog joined Daniel Summerhays and Russell Henley as amateurs that have won on the Nationwide Tour. Summerhays was the first amateur winner, when he won this event in 2007. Henley claimed the Stadion Classic earlier this year.
“My future was in my hands coming down the last couple of holes. I knew that a win here would be big for me in the future and give me a tour to play on when I turn pro,” said English.
Another amateur, John Peterson, the NCAA Individual Champion, had the lead after each of the first three rounds.
However, he closed with a one-over 72 to end one back at minus-13. He was joined in second place on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University Golf Club by Kyle Reifers, who posted a three-under 68 in the final round.
“My goal was to win this week and I didn’t get it done. I guess it just wasn’t meant for me,” said Peterson. “If I wasn’t going to win, I wanted him to win it.”
Josh Broadaway (65) and Brian Smock (69) tied for fourth at 12-under-par 272.
Peterson looked like he was going to cruise to the winner’s circle early. He led by one to start the round, but birdied the first and his playing partner, English, stumbled to a bogey there. Peterson was suddenly three strokes clear.
English bounced back with birdies on three and four to close the gap back to a single shot. He tripped to another bogey at the seventh.
Peterson cruised to nine straight pars after his opening birdie. At the 11th, he stumbled to a bogey and his lead was back to one. English joined him at 14- under with a birdie on the par-five 12th.
The 22-year-old Peterson, who played at LSU, made another bogey on the 14th to fall one behind, but there was a two-stroke swing on the par-four 15th.
Peterson regained the lead as he converted a birdie chance, while English took a bogey at 15. There was one more two-stroke swing that gave us our champion.
At the par-four 18th, English converted a 10-foot birdie effort to finish at minus-14.
Peterson struggled to a bogey to end one back at minus-13.
“That’s really what you dream about growing up. You want to put yourself in those positions to win. This is what you spend hours and hours practicing for as a little kid,” said English. “When I saw the ball disappear it was the greatest feeling in the world. It’s pretty unbelievable.”
NOTES: Since neither amateur can collect the prize money, Reifers earned the first-place money of $144,000…A third amateur, Peter Uihlein, closed with a three-under 68 to share ninth place at minus-10…The Nationwide Tour heads to Utah next week for the Utah Championship, where Michael Putnam won last year.