Brown Returns to Winner’s Circle With Dominant Performance at eGolf Tour’s Sedgefield Classic
By Stewart Moore
Greensboro, NC – Ted Brown of Richmond, VA won the eGolf Tour’s second annual Sedgefield Classic in wire-to-wire fashion on Friday, posting rounds of 64-65-69—198 (12-under par) en route to a four-shot victory over Taylor Floyd of Macon, GA. The win marked the third of Brown’s eGolf Tour career and first since the Firethorne Open in August of 2008 – a span of 5 years, 9 months and 8 days, which in turn set a tour record for the longest duration of time between wins.
Brown’s week at host Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course wasn’t really supposed to even happen. The Ontario, Canada native has full status on PGA TOUR Canada, but missed out on this week’s season-opening event on the PGA TOUR-owned mini-tour when a registration gaffe last week left him without a spot.
Back on the eGolf Tour, where he is a full member, Brown raced out of the gate during Wednesday’s opening round, recording six birdies and 12 pars on his way to a bogey-free 64 and a two-shot lead through 18 holes.
The former Virginia Commonwealth star picked up where he left off during Thursday’s second round, birdieing four of his first six holes before posting his first bogey of the week at the par-4 18th, all adding up to a second-round 65 which put him at 11-under 129 and three shots clear of Matt Schall of Williamsport, PA entering Friday’s third and final round.
A poor opening tee shot on Friday morning at the par-4 first put Brown somewhat behind the eight-ball, forcing him to punch out from behind the trees with his second shot scooting over the green in the early dew. Trying to putt through the fringe, he left his third 10 feet from the hole, and nearly had a two-shot swing on the horizon when Schall made a birdie putt from just outside him to go to 9-under.
“That was actually pretty big, for me to make that par putt at the first,” said Brown, who calmly rolled in the putt for the save to remain two shots in the clear. “If I don’t make that par putt, we’re down to one shot. So that certainly helped.”
Brown settled down over the next two holes, two-putting the par-3 second for par and going for the reachable par-4 third with a driver before making a solid up-and-down birdie to jump to 12-under par for the week.
At the par-5 fourth, the former Ram standout lost his second shot to the right, eventually bogeying the docile hole to drop back to even on the day in what would be just his second bogey of the week.
“I didn’t drive it very well on the front and that’s why I didn’t score very well,” Brown said. “After I lost my 3-wood right on No. 4, I said, ‘That’s the last time I’m hitting that club.’”
Brown’s steady cruise through the opening nine was briefly threatened by eGolf Tour leading money winner and final-round playing partner Seamus Power of West Waterford, Ireland, who birdied Nos. 3, 7 and 8 to move to 9-under par – at the time just two shots back of the lead.
Power’s charge, however, would be somewhat short-lived, as follow-up bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10 pushed him a distant four shots back of Brown, who turned in even-par 35.
“I didn’t really know how I stood for a while there. I know Seamus was closest for a bit, but then he bogeyed nine and 10 to drop back, which was surprising,” said Brown after his round. “I only had one birdie through the first 11 holes, so I expected a few to eventually come my way.”
Birdies did in fact come Brown’s way, with a 20-foot birdie bomb on the par-3 12th and an 8-iron to 7 feet on the 14th setting up a pair of red-figure holes that pushed him up to 13-under par for the first time all week.
Suddenly a distant five shots clear of the field with four holes to go, Brown bogeyed the tough par-4 16th, but managed to close with pars on 17 and 18 – the latter courtesy of a clutch up-and-down from 60 yards – to finish off a 1-under 69 and a 12-under 198 total, good for his third career tour title.
The win marked Brown’s first since 2008, when he won both the Southern Open and the Firethorne Open. His mark of 5 years, 8 months and 9 days between wins is the longest in the tour’s 13-year history, eclipsing a prior mark of 4 years, 11 months and 5 days, set by Andy Bare at last year’s Palisades Classic.
In the years between, Brown spent time between the Web.com Tour and a full-time caddie job at famed Kinloch Golf Club in suburban Richmond. When investors approached him at the end of 2013 about playing full-time again, the journeyman took full advantage, returning to the eGolf Tour to pursue what has always been a promising career.
“It feels good. I’ve been steadily playing better. It doesn’t feel that long,” said the 35-year-old Brown. “It feels like I’ve been playing better, I just haven’t been playing as often. You have to be out here to compete, and I really haven’t been able to until this year.”
After a two-year hiatus, Brown returned to the eGolf Tour last fall, posting a pair of top-5 finishes to set up a plethora of promise for a full circle comeback in 2014.
Missed cuts at the season-opening Palmetto Hall Championship and the following two events did little to inspire confidence, but Brown came back into the mix with three straight top-20 finishes thereafter, including a T4 at the Columbia Open earlier this month.
“I haven’t had to work on my swing much, it’s just all upstairs,” said Brown, who seldom practices during or between events. “I feel like my game is good, though, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer.”
Taylor Floyd of Macon, GA finished alone in second place after rounds of 70-67-65—202 left him at 8-under par, four shots back of Brown. He earned $8,000 for the week.
The former Augusta State standout entered the final round a distant eight shots back of Brown, but rode a roller coaster of eight birdies and three bogeys on his way to a closing 5-under 65.
The runner-up finish tied Floyd’s career-best on the eGolf Tour, dating back to pair of identical results at the Mid Pines Classic and Columbia Classic in the fall of 2013. It also ended a skid of four consecutive missed cuts for the 24-year-old, all of which followed a T15 at Palmetto Hall in February.
Power, Schall and Vaita Guillaume of Tahiti each finished in a tie for third at 7-under 203. The trio earned $4,883 apiece on the week.
For Power, the T3 marked yet another solid finish in a 2014 campaign laced with stellar performances.
A two-time tour winner in 2012, Power finished fourth on the tour’s money list during a winless 2013 season, but added career win No. 3 in March of this year at the Cowans Ford Open. All told, the former East Tennessee State golfer has six top-6 finishes in six starts this year, and remained at No. 1 on the tour’s money list with $38,298 in earnings.
The T3 was a career-best for Schall, who previously had a pair of T5 efforts at the top of his eGolf Tour resume – including one at Cowans Ford just two months ago.
The former Maryland golfer played bogey-free golf over the first 36 holes, notching eight birdies and 28 pars for a pair of 66s. Schall’s final round was anything but bogey-free, with six bogeys and five birdies – including four in bogeys in his first eight holes – for a closing 71.
Schall’s T3 marked his third straight top-25 on the eGolf Tour, and his fourth of the 2014 season. He is currently 22nd on the tour’s money list.
• The eGolf Tour would like to thank McConnell Golf, in particular John McConnell, Brian Kittler and Rocky Brooks, for their help in coordinating this event at one of their top facilities. A special thanks goes to Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course head golf professional Chris Terry and his staff for helping the tour conduct such a successful 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. 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 11-14 for the fifth annual Forest Oaks Classic, to be contested at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, NC.