Matt Hendrix wins Cutter Creek Classic, earns Tour exemption

SNOW HILL, NC June 23, 2013 – Often times, the dreams of our youth fade with the years. Matt Hendrix knows that, but the Clemson alumnus isn’t quite ready to give up on his – and the optimism comes with good reason.


Hendrix, 32, carded a 5-under 67 in the final round to force a playoff with 2010 British Amateur champion Jin Jeong and birdied the second playoff hole to win the 2013 Cutter Creek Classic presented by Bojangles’ on Sunday afternoon.

Matt Hendrix wins Cutter Creek Classic

“This win is huge for me,” said Hendrix, who has conditional status on the Tour. “I’ve been doing this since 2004, so maybe this is just a later start to my career than I wanted. It definitely helps to see a guy like (PGA TOUR winner) Ted Potter make it later in his career. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve probably started thinking about doing something else.”


While Hendrix would eventually like to mimic Potter’s exploits on the PGA TOUR, his finish on Sunday reminded many in the crowd of the seven-time NGA TOUR winner.


On the final hole of regulation, Hendrix went for the par-5 18th hole in two and barely carried the front edge of the water-protected green, while Jeong stuffed his second shot to about 20 feet for eagle. Undeterred, the former Tiger made a miraculous up-and-down for birdie to join Jeong, who narrowly missed his eagle putt and made birdie, on the 18th hole for the playoff.


Both golfers safely found the green in two on the first extra hole and walked away with birdies to send the playoff back to the 18th tee. Hendrix again reached the green in two, but Jeong left his second shot in the rough.


Jeong’s chip left the Australian golfer with 15 foot for birdie, while Hendrix two-putted for birdie. And when Jeong’s birdie putt slid past the hole, Hendrix had his long-awaited win on the NGA TOUR.


“I got away with a little bit of a poor shot in regulation,” said Hendrix. “But I had two good numbers in the playoff and put two great swings on them. Those were two of the better swings I had all week and they came at a great time.”


In addition to earning $22,000 for his first NGA TOUR Pro Series victory, the Greenville, S.C., native also picked up an event exemption into the Tour’s Utah Championship, which could help facilitate his journey to the top of the game.


“It’s important for me to know I have another start on the Tour,” said Hendrix, who finished with rounds of 70-66-71-67 for a 14-under 274 total. “This is what I’ve needed. I told my teacher and family that if I could just get one start and put together some rounds like I did this week, I could win and that would change everything.”


Though Jeong came up just shy of his first victory on U.S. soil, the 23-year-old golfer showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Jeong, who finished T14 in the 2010 British Open, carded back-to-back 67s on the weekend in just his second NGA TOUR event to finish at 14-under par and earned $11,432 for the runner-up effort.


Hunter Green, a former Middle Tennessee State standout from Evensville, Tenn., nearly made it a threesome in the playoff. Green reached the 72nd hole in two shots, but the former Blue Raider was unable to get up-and-down from the back fringe for birdie and had to settle for third place at 13-under par. However, Green’s podium finish was a career-best and earned him $8,632.


Like Green, Travis Hampshire, a Purdue alumnus from Tampa, Fla., had a chance to join the playoff, but a bogey on the final hole of regulation left the 2012 Tour member at 12-under par and tied for fourth with Ken Looper. Hampshire carded a final-round 70.


After reaching 7 under for the day and 14 under for the tournament through 13 holes, Looper, a former LSU standout from Mandeville, La., looked as though he would be hoisting trophy on Sunday. However, three bogeys and just one birdie over his final six holes left Looper with a 5-under 67 and tied for fourth. Hampshire and Looper earned $6,482 each.


Ben Silverman (68), Chris Wolfe (68), Jesse Hutchins (69) and Paul Apyan (70) finished tied for sixth at 11-under par, while Jonathan Fly (66), Eric Axley (69), Mitchell Gregson (70) and third-round leader Adam Hogue (73) finished T10 at 10-under par.


The NGA TOUR would like to thank all the sponsors, staff and volunteers at Cutter Creek Golf Club for severing as a wonderful host for the third annual event.


The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA TOUR and Tour and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA TOUR and Tour Professionals.


The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro,, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships. On average over 60% of every Tour field and over 40% of every PGA TOUR field have spent time on the NGA TOUR.


NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink; 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis; two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA  champion John Daly; British Open champion Tom Lehman; PGA champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year and 2013 Honda Classic champion Michael Thompson; and recent PGA TOUR winners Russell Henley, Kevin Streelman, Scott Brown, Brian Gay, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, Gary Woodland, and many, many more.


The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. Since 2010, the NGA TOUR has received twenty Tour and two PGA TOUR event exemptions, the most in developmental golf, and in 2012 became the “Official Partner of the Reno-Tahoe Open,” one of just 45 PGA TOUR events worldwide, and now the only event on the PGA TOUR calendar with a Modified Stableford scoring format.


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