Garrett does it again at Durham Amateur
Among the players and spectators who knew the field at the 41st Annual Durham Amateur Tournament there was little doubt that Jason Garrett would be in contention on the second day at Hillandale Golf Course.
Indeed, Garrett won his second Durham Amateur. But it took a tour de force performance on the back nine Sunday as he shot a 5-under after the turn for a total two-day score of 140 (71-69) to narrowly edge out John Gaddy (70-71).
“It was a lucky nine,” said Garrett, who had to make up ground after shooting a 3-over front nine. “Where I knew I was getting hot was 17, that putt right there was the biggest putt I had on the back. All the other holes just came out of nowhere.”
Garrett sank a birdie putt from six feet away on hole 17 to tie Gaddy who would bogey the hole minutes later to give Garrett the lead for good.
Those familiar with the field speculated that Garrett, who won his first title in 2011, would shoot a score somewhere in the high 60s as the results from the first round came into the scorer’s table Saturday. However, Garrett’s first-round score ended up coming in at 71, putting him in a three-way tie for fifth place entering Sunday’s round.
Where nerves may have gotten to other players near the top of the leaderboard, Garrett was able to relax as he approached the back nine, thinking he had shot himself out of contention with a disastrous triple bogey on hole six.
“I got on seven, and I thought, man, there goes the tournament,” Garrett said. “I just knew I had to do something stupid on the back. The way I was playing, I didn’t think it could happen.”
Garrett birdied hole ten, but he began to hit his stride on the 13th hole, albeit with a little luck. He struck a putt too hard on a down-sloping green. The ball hit the back of the hole, bounced a few inches in the air and went in.
“I had putts go my way that shouldn’t have went in,” Garrett said. “The putt on 13 probably shouldn’t have gone in. If it had missed, I would have been chipping.”
Ultimately, though, it was Garrett’s ability to drive the ball farther than the competition that set him up for easy approach shots that led to birdies on the back nine.
On hole 16, a 380-yard par four, Garrett nearly drove the green, setting up a short chip shot and birdie putt.
“Jason was so long, he can tear that back side apart, and he did,” said Ronnie Williams Jr., who played in the same final-day grouping as Garrett and finished in third place, scoring a 71 on both days. “Jason and I started making a lot of birdies coming in, it got fun.
“I’m proud of him. He’s hard to beat out here. He’s so talented and hits it so long.”
Gaddy, who won the tournament in 2012, led for most of the second day as he shot 1-under on the front nine. However, Garrett’s combination of long drives and precision putting was too much for any lead to withstand.
“If I don’t bogey one of them, it’s a different outcome,” said Gaddy of his bogies on the two back-nine, par-3s, holes 15 and 17. “But bogies happen in golf. I didn’t lose it with some ridiculous seven or eight.
“I didn’t get the hot putter like Jason did. But I’ve had the hot putter out here before. If you get one or two in, all of a sudden one or two turn into three or four and you end up doing like he (Garrett) did.”
A total of $2,380.00 in gift certificates were given out to the leaders.