St Petersburg Country Club, Florida

Brandon Hagy, a Cal Berkeley redshirt freshman, won the 2011 New Year’s Invitational in grand style after giving up a six shot lead with nine holes to play.  Brandon started the final round at 9-under par with a four shot lead over Arnond “Bank” Vongvanij (Florida) and five shots over Michael Furci (Florida), Lewis Gruber (Georgia Southern) and David Erdy (Indiana).  Brandon bogeyed the first hole then quickly regained his four shot lead with a birdie on the par 5 second.  He would make birdie on the ninth to move to 10-under par with a six shot lead over, Vongvanij, Erdy, Ming Hao Wang and mid-amateur Billy Williamson.

Brandon’s lead would diminish quickly as he would bogey holes ten & twelve, while Bank Vongvanij would birdie ten & eleven to cut the from six to two in three holes.  The other contenders were not able to make similar gains and by the fourteenth hole it had become a two-man race.  Bank birdied the par 3 fourteenth to tie for the lead as Brandon made his third bogey of the nine.  Brandon lost the lead on the next hole with bogey, going into the final three holes one down to Bank.  Both players birdied the sixteenth and both three-putted seventeen leaving Bank with a one shot lead going in to eighteen, which he had birdied each of the first three rounds.

Brandon, one of the longest hitters in the field, hit a big drive against the wind leaving him 220 yards to reach the par 5 in two.  He hit a beautiful 4-iron eighteen feet above the hole.  Bank, his game based more on precision than power, was short in two and did not get his third shot inside of Brandon’s second.  Bank’s birdie putt was close enough to assure a par leaving the stage to Brandon.  His eagle putt was firm and dead-center, good for a two-shot swing and the victory.  It marked the first time in the tournament’s eighty-five year history that a player had won by making eagle on the final hole and the first time that a player trailing going into the 72nd hold had won the tournament outright.