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Driver wins Victoria Open in playoff

By jhornberg
April 13, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

Dustin Morris grimaces after missing a putt at the fifth green  Saturday. Morris finished tied for the lead at 5-under after 18 holes but was eliminated from the three-way playoff on the first of two  tiebreakers.

Hudson Johnson found out how much it pays to have a good friend with him on the course.

Early in his round Saturday at Victoria Country Club, he found his range finder failing him.

The logical fix to this? Share. It helped that he was playing with just right person for this in golfer Garrett Driver.

"We were walking down the fairway, and he said his was losing battery," Driver said. "So, he asked if he could share mine.

"We're good friends; it was good to share a group on the final day. We were feeding off each other on the course."

For 17 holes, with a rules official's blessing, the two golfers shared equipment.

They ended up sharing more than just equipment Saturday. They also ended up sharing the lead after 18 holes.

Driver would prevail in a three-person playoff to win the 2013 Victoria Open on two playoff holes, beating his friend Johnson in two playoff holes that saw him make two tremendous saves to win the tournament.

The first save was on a downhill chip over a bunker to birdie the first playoff hole, then on a treacherous shot out of a bunker on the second playoff hole that could have landed in a pond on Hole No. 1 if it had gone too long.

"I hit a pretty good second shot on 18; actually, it just didn't cut, and it left me with a straight down hill," Driver said of the first playoff hole. "I really just had to get on the green, it would get below the hole.

"It didn't matter if it was on it or just barely off like it ended up being. I just wanted an uphill putt."

Driver had been lingering throughout the tournament, posting scores of 71, 70 and 70 of the tournament. He just needed the breaks to go his way.

"I knew that I played well the other three rounds," Driver said. "I just didn't make as many birdies as I wanted to, but I knew that I had hit well."

Eventually, things did.

He and everyone else got it when Michael Nicoletti, the leader entering the final round, triple bogied the hole to erase his lead. Only Driver and Johnson, meandering down the course together, were able to make any sort of move up the scoreboard.

Johnson's round of 67 on Saturday was the best of the day and enough to lift him into a playoff for first place. Driver, who entered the day one stroke better than Johnson, was 3-under for the day. They were joined by Lance Lopez (69) as the only three golfers on the final day to shoot less than 70.

They were joined by Dustin Morris, who entered the day in second place and birdied No. 18 to finish 1-under for the day and join Johnson and Driver for a playoff hole.

Morris was eliminated on the first hole, his third shot rolling into leaves long of the green on the first playoff hole, then getting mostly foliage on his attempt to put the ball on the green.

Johnson's luck for the day ran out on the second hole.

His second shot went long of the green, and the third splashed in the pond. He took two strokes from the water, working his way out, but conceded after Driver landed his wedge shot out of the bunker 10 feet from the hole.

It ended up being all in days work for Driver, who knows this course well. After all, he's the one of two to hold the course record after shooting a 63 at Victoria Country Club last year with Sam Houston State at the Jim West Intercollegiate.

"Shooting 63 out here really helped," he said. "I knew I could make birdies out here on this course."



TOURNAMENT NOTES

• Michael Nicoletti knows Victoria Country Club's golf course well. Too bad his experiences here were, well, forgettable. "I have been here before, and I really enjoyed myself," he said. "I've definitely learned a little bit from being around here a few times." He shot rounds of 74 an 71 and missed the cut at the Hooters Tour's Victoria Texas Open in 2011.

•  Several of tournament winner Garrett Driver's clubs are made by Scor Golf, which is based in Victoria. He received a new bag from the company following the tournament.

Victoria Open

Adams Tour

Final Results

Purse: $67,600

1 Garrett Driver Humble, TX 71-70-70-68--279 -5 $11,450.00

T2 Hudson Johnson Longview, TX 74-68-70-67--279 -5 $5,640.00

T2 Dustin Morris Crosby, TX 75-68-66-70--279 -5 $5,640.00

T4 Andrew Landry Baton Rouge, LA 74-67-68-71--280 -4 $3,900.00

T4 Michael Nicoletti Dos Palos, CA 64-72-70-74--280 -4 $3,900.00

6 Lance Lopez Richmond, TX 71-71-70-69--281 -3 $3,105.00

7 Jeff Rangel Scottsdale, AZ 72-69-72-70--283 -1 $2,710.00

T8 Chris Walker The Woodlands, TX 70-72-72-70--284 E $2,285.00

T8 Blaine Weiterman Tyler, TX 72-70-69-73--284 E $2,285.00

T10 Scott Roudebush Dallas, TX 71-72-70-72--285 +1 $1,730.00

T10 Christopher E. Brown Dallas, TX 69-73-71-72--285 +1 $1,730.00

T10 Daniel Hoff Bakersfield, CA 72-72-67-74--285 +1 $1,730.00

T10 Michael Smith Lafayette, LA 72-70-69-74--285 +1 $1,730.00

T14 Brad Besler Castle Rock, CO 71-68-74-73--286 +2 $1,472.50

T14 Robbe Trout Sanger, TX 69-72-73-72--286 +2 $1,472.50

T16 Clay Fullick Baytown, TX 71-70-73-73--287 +3 $1,387.50

T16 Creighton Honeck Austin, TX 75-67-75-70--287 +3 $1,387.50

T18 Matthew Vela San Antonio, TX 77-69-71-71--288 +4 $1,310.00

T18 Anthony Broussard Beaumont, TX 76-70-72-70--288 +4 $1,310.00

T20 Mark Stevens Concord, NH 71-71-72-75--289 +5 $1,215.00

T20 David Gossett Austin, TX 74-70-71-74--289 +5 $1,215.00

T20 Ryan Dagerman Dallas, TX 77-69-72-71--289 +5 $1,215.00

T23 Chris Brown Garland, TX 75-68-72-75--290 +6 $1,120.00

T23 Dustin Mills Arvada, CO 73-72-72-73--290 +6 $1,120.00

T25 Ryan Baca Sugar Land, TX 68-75-72-76--291 +7 $1,045.00

T25 Andrew Noto Luling, LA 75-70-73-73--291 +7 $1,045.00

27 Joshua Havard Arlington, TX 74-72-74-72--292 +8 $985.00

T28 Cole Moreland Austin, TX 70-73-71-80--294 +10 $932.50

T28 Clinton Shepard West Monroe, LA 72-70-72-80--294 +10 $932.50

30 Troy Denton Dallas, TX 69-76-79-72--296 +12 $300.00

31 Jeremy Frye Palestine, TX 75-71-80-77--303 +19 $300.00

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