Clutch Birdies Propel Gielow To Jacksonville Invitational Title
Feb. 9, 2010
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Senior Brendan Gielow birdied two of his final three holes to claim his second collegiate victory at the Jacksonville Invitational on Tuesday. Behind Gielow, Wake Forest would finish second in the event after firing the low round of the day.
Gielow made four birdies in his final round of 73. He finished the 54-hole event at the famed TPC of Sawgrass Stadium Course at 2-over par, one-shot better than Kelvin Day of Charleston Southern.
"Brendan had a great tournament and it just shows what a great player he is," said Wake Forest head coach Jerry Haas. "He didn't hit the ball as well as he would have liked but getting the ball in the hole when you're not hitting it your best is the mark of a good player. He had a couple of chip-ins this week and he really just managed his game well."
As a team, the Demon Deacons carded the low round of the day, a 10-over 298 and jumped ACC-foe Clemson for second place. East Tennessee State fired the low-round of the tournament Monday afternoon, a 3-over 291, which propelled the Buccaneers to a 7-stroke victory.
"I am very proud of the guys this week," said Haas. "We didn't have all that much time to prepare and I thought they came out and played well. A couple of shots here and there got away but that's golf. The course played tough this week and the guys hung in there. This was a good way to start the spring."
Gielow started the day in grand fashion, holing a pitch-shot from 65 yards out for an eagle on the par-5 16th to get back to even-par for the tournament. Despite a bogey at the 18th, he posted a second round 69 and held a 1-shot lead over Clemson's Ben Martin and Crawford Reeves heading into the final round.
For the third-straight round, Gielow played the front nine well, going out in 1-under 35 and extending his lead to two. He was a combined 4-under par on the front nine this week.
His lead was trimmed to one after a bogey at No. 10 and after he bogeyed the tough par-4 14th, Day had pulled even with four holes to play. But the 2009 Walker Cup member made a nice birdie at No. 16 to regain the lead and a clutch birdie at the famous par-3 17th to give himself a two-shot cushion. Despite a bogey at the last, Gielow walked-off with his second collegiate victory.
His last win came at the 2008 VCU Shootout when he fired a career-low 12-under 201. Gielow has now finished in the top-5 in each of his last three tournaments.
Through the first nine holes in the final round, the Deacs were 2-under par and had closed the gap to six on ETSU. Behind back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 from sophomore Lee Bedford, Wake crept to within three of the Buccaneers but that would be as close as it would get down the stretch.
Bedford finished-off a solid 76 in the second round and then went right to work in the final round with a birdie at the par-5 second. He also made birdies at Nos. 9, 11 and 12 to climb to 3-under on the day and would ultimately finish with a 2-under 70, which was the lowest round of the day. He finished the tournament at 10-over par and tied for 11th.
After opening with an 80, freshman Charlie Harrison bounced-back with a 75 Monday afternoon and an impressive 73 on Tuesday. He had made 11 pars and just one bogey through his first 12 holes of the final round before falling back to 3-over with back-to-back bogeys at 14 and 15. But he rebounded with a birdie at No. 16 and made one of just four birdies on the day at the long par-4 18th. Harrison finished the tournament tied for 15th at 12-over par, which was his best finish of the season.
Senior Travis Wadkins and freshman Evan Beck both were bitten by a bit of back luck on Tuesday. Wadkins made a double-bogey at No. 12 and a triple-bogey at No. 13 and would finish with an 82. It was a tough way to end after two good rounds of 76-74 to start. He finished the tournament tied for 24th.
Beck was also hurt by the big numbers on Tuesday, finishing the day with 84. He finished the 54-hole event in a tie for 46th at 24-over.
Wake will be back in action in two weeks at the Wexford Intercollegiate at Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head, SC. The first two rounds are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, with the final round on Feb. 23.