Friday, May 31, 2013
Greensboro, NC – Australia’s Mitch Krywulycz entered the final round of the eGolf Tour’s inaugural Sedgefield Classic in possession of a commanding four-shot lead, and looking for his first career win as a professional. In his 36th eGolf Tour start since rounding out a stellar career at Augusta State in 2011, Krywulycz cemented his name on top of the final leaderboard, carding a 4-under 66 on Friday afternoon to walk away with the tournament title and the event’s $15,000 first-place prize.
The Sedgefield Classic was the 11th of 24 scheduled events on the 2013 eGolf Tour schedule, and was contested this week at Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course in Greensboro, NC.
Krywulycz, who hails from just outside Sydney, Australia in the town of Sylvannia, put his name in the proverbial Sedgefield Classic hat on Thursday afternoon when he posted a tournament-best 5-under 65 to reach 8-under 132 through 36 holes, four shots clear of Michael Shrader of Midlothian, VA entering the final round.
If he was feeling the nerves on Friday, he did a wonderful job of hiding it, as Krywulycz birdied the par-4 first, bogeyed the par-3 second, then eagled the par-5 fifth to jump to 2-under on his round and 10-under for the week.
“I stuck it in pretty close on the first and tapped it in, then almost made double at the next after airmailing the green,” said Krywulycz, 25. “But the eagle at five was huge. I hit an aggressive drive and then a big sling cut around the trees and onto the green. I thought I missed the putt low, but it rolled in. I guess when things like that happen, you realize you’re going to get away with some stuff.”
The jumpstart eagle gave way to five consecutive pars, which gave Krywulycz a 2-under 33 on his outward nine and a 10-under total for the week. Up five shots on the field with nine holes to play, his final two-and-a-half hours on the course served as a mere formality.
“After the eagle, I just tried to get it around the course,” he said. “There are some trouble spots out there, so I wanted to play smart.”
A birdie at the par-4 10th pushed Krywulycz’s tally to 11-under par for the week, then a dominant six shots clear of the field. When he birdied the par-5 15th, and Shrader double-bogeyed the par-3 16th, Krywulycz was left with a Tiger Woods-like 10-shot lead with just two holes to play.
“The birdie at 15 was when I realized that I could be okay, I could hit a couple of bad shots and be okay,” Krywulycz. “From 12 on, I was preparing myself to look at the board and see someone going low. When that didn’t happen, I was really just focused on my playing partners.”
Pars on his final three holes gave Krywulycz a final-round 66, a 12-under 198 total, and a remarkable nine-shot victory for his first professional win.
The $15,000 payday pushed his season-long earnings up to $23,995, good for No. 8 on the tour’s money list.
“I’ve played a lot of golf out here, and I’ve missed some cuts by a lot of strokes at times, but this feels just great,” he said. “I played much better than I have before. It was cool, it was just a lot of fun to walk away from a tournament feeling really good.”
Roughly two years ago (or 726 days to be exact), Krywulycz was on top of the college golf world, serving as a key member of the Jaguars’ back-to-back NCAA Championship teams in 2010 and 2011.
In 2010, the tiny Augusta school with just over 6,000 students shocked the world, defeating perennial powerhouse Oklahoma State University to claim the first of their two titles. In 2011, the Jaguars again beat the Cowboys, this time in the semifinals and on their home track in Stillwater, OK. The upset win led them to the championship match, where they defeated the Georgia Bulldogs – their well-known in-state rival from just up the road in Athens, GA.
“There’s way more pressure to win on a team. It’s college, so you know it’s your only shot and you’re not likely to get another chance,” Krywulycz said. “With pro golf, there’s always next week or next year. You only get four years in college, so it makes it that much more special when you do win. You always wanted to play well for the boys.”
With his win, Krywulycz becomes the second member of those NCAA Championship teams to win on the eGolf Tour, dating back to Henrik Norlander’s victory at the Olde Sycamore Open last September. That win, also his first as a professional, propelled the Sweden native through Q-School and onto the 2013 PGA TOUR, where he is a full member.
Krywulycz knows that they’ll catch up soon and reminisce on their wins.
“We’re all pretty close, we talk a good bit. I know he’s been traveling, but I’m sure when he gets back we’ll have a few beers and catch up,” said Krywulycz with a smile. “It will be a good time.”
Shrader recovered from his late-round double-bogey to birdie the par-4 18th for a final-round 71 that left him at 3-under 207, good for runner-up honors and a $9,000 payday.
The former University of Richmond golfer held the tournament’s 18-hole lead after a 4-under 66, then tied Krywulycz through 15 holes of round two at 4-under for the day. A late triple-bogey on his 16th hole, however, left him with a second-round 70, and four shots back heading into Friday’s final round.
For the most part, Shrader played steady golf in the final round, posting one birdie and 13 pars through 14 holes of play prior to a bogey at 15 and the aforementioned double-bogey at 16. The birdie at 18, which gave him the solo-second-place finish, was worth $2,116 in the differential between that and a three-way tie for second.
The finish was a career-best for Shrader, and moved him up to No. 31 on the tour’s money list.
Nathan Stamey of Bluffton, SC and Bruce Woodall of Yanceyville, NC finished tied for third at 2-under 208, a full 10 shots back of Krywulycz. Both players earned $5,825 for their efforts.
Stamey’s rounds of 69-70-69 left him and Krywulycz as the only players in the field to card all three rounds at par or better for the week. At 2-under par through 11 holes on Friday, Stamey was making a move towards a possible solo-second-place finish, but a double-bogey at the demanding par-3 12th dropped him back to even for the round, and 1-under total.
The finish was Stamey’s first top-5 on the eGolf Tour since a T2 effort at the 2011 Willow Creek Open. Stamey played his college golf at nearby UNC Greensboro, where the team would often practice at Sedgefield.
Woodall’s rounds of 71-66-71—208 gave him the T3 for the week, which marked his fourth top-5 of the 2013 season. The former University of Virginia star has been steady as a rock this year, having now made nine of nine cuts, with prior top-5s coming at the Palmetto Hall Championship (4), the Championship at Ballantyne Country Club (T4) and last week’s Willow Creek Open (5). Woodall now has four consecutive top-10s on the eGolf Tour, and is fifth on the money list with $28,470 in earnings.
As an amateur, he contended the past two years at the Cardinal Amateur (held annually at Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course), earning a T7 finish at the event’s 2012 edition and posting a T4 the year prior.
* The eGolf Tour would like to thank McConnell Golf, in particular John McConnell and Brian Kittler, for their help in coordinating this event at one of their top facilities. Special thanks goes to Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course director of golf Scott Stratton and his staff for helping the tour conduct such a successful first-year event. Thank you to Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course superintendent Daniel Knight and his crew for their work in presenting a fantastic golf course for the week. Players raved about the conditioning all week, and the greens were nothing short of PGA TOUR-caliber from start to finish. Last but not least, thank you to the members of Sedgefield for allowing the tour access to the club’s facilities for the week, and for their tireless efforts in volunteering.
* The tour will take next week off before returning to action on June 12-14, 2013 for the annual Spring Creek Classic, to be contested at Spring Creek Golf Club in Gordonsville, VA.