This year’s Web.com Mylan Classic had all the elements for a successful professional golf event.
It had a rooting interest in Steve Wheatcroft, who worked at the site’s Southpointe Golf Club as a youth. It had drama with a disqualification of one of the golfers near the top of the leaderboard for signing an incorrect scorecard. It had outstanding golf with Ben Martin bringing the 6,951-yard course to its knees with a sparkling 17-under par for the tournament victory.
Finally, it had fan interest with a good crowd for Sunday afternoon’s final round.
Martin, who decided to take the next two weeks off no matter how he finished in this event, can leave for the beach a much richer man. His first-place check of $121,500 puts him second on the Web.com money list.
When a couple golfers made a charge, Martin didn’t wilt. He claims to not look at scoreboards during tournaments, but he had to have heard when Kelly Kraft cut his lead to two strokes after his fifth of 10 birdies over the last 18.
Martin simply made a shot that produced cheers, and the tournament title, for himself when he made eagle on the par-4 15th hole. After that, it was just a matter of not making any major mistakes.
Wheatcroft, a former Washington resident who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., had a strong first round, where he was one stroke behind the leader. But inflammation to his Achilles tendon on the back nine of the second round put his tournament in a spiral.
Wheatcroft played through the pain, but a triple-bogey on No. 1 and a double-bogey on No. 2 to start the third round dropped him to 1-under par and out of contention.
Wheatcroft finished at 3-over for the tournament and in a tie for 46th place. He is 47th on the money list, and the top 75 make the finals.
The disqualification came in the second round and under the most bizarre circumstances in golf. Blayne Barber, newly married and hoping to carve out a living on this tour, was brought into the media room to discuss his honesty in last year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School.
He also was in second place in the Mylan at the time.
Barber had called a one-stroke penalty on himself for an illegal hit in a bunker during the first round of Q School. Bothered by whether it was the right call all week, he contacted tour officials and learned he should have had a two-stroke penalty.
His disqualification ended his chance to gain his card on the Web.com or PGA tours for this year.
While discussing that situation with the media, it was learned Barber had again signed a wrong scorecard after his second round and was disqualified.
Playing the hilly, par-71 course magnificently, Martin overtook second-round leader Whee Kim on Saturday and protected a four-stroke lead over the final 18 holes.
Martin played like a champion. More important, he played like a golfer who appeared ready to handle the challenges of the PGA Tour next season.
Assistant sports editor Joe Tuscano can be reached at email@example.com.