July 21, 2012
By Stewart Moore
Wallace, N.C. – Chesson Hadley (Raleigh, NC), a former three-time All America selection at Georgia Tech, posted rounds of 65-68-67-71–271 (17-under) en route to claiming his first eGolf Tour title with a four-shot victory over David Robinson (Sandersville, GA) and Alan Wagner (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
Hadley, who entered Saturday’s final round with a five-shot lead at 16-under par, posted one birdie and one bogey on his opening nine to turn at even-par 36, four shots clear of his nearest competitor. A bogey at the par-4 11th briefly dropped the former Yellow Jacket star to 15-under par, but a bounce back birdie on No. 12 and a follow-up birdie on No. 15 took him back to 17-under, where he finished after pars at 16, 17 and 18.
The win, worth $18,000, pushed Hadley’s 2012 earnings up to $70,210 on the year – good for second on the eGolf Tour money list, trailing only Drew Weaver (High Point, NC).
Hadley opened his 2012 campaign with two top-5 finishes in his first three starts, and later added a T4 at St. James to make it three top-5s in his first six events. At the tour’s inaugural Championship at Wintergreen Resort three weeks ago, Hadley dueled alongside good friend Peter Malnati throughout much of the event’s final round, before coming up one-shot short of Malnati en route to his third career runner-up finish on tour.
That runner-up gave way to a T6 at last week’s Southern Open, which in turn led to this week’s breakthrough win. Hadley has now hit for golf’s odd version of the cycle, posting at least one finish representing each number inside the top six this year: A win, a runner-up, a third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finish.
Robinson, a three-time eGolf Tour winner and 2008 leading money winner, birdied No. 12 and eagled No. 13 in the final round to pull within three shots of Hadley, but bogeyed No. 14 to fall out of the mix. A birdie at the 72nd hole left Robinson with a final-round 68 and the T2 finish.
The finish marked his second runner-up since 2008, when he notched all three of his wins.
Robinson is still looking for his first win since that magical year when he became the first tour player to break the $100,000 mark in single-season earnings. The River Landing Open represents his 54th start since picking up his third win in 2008. In the years between, Robinson made 16 starts as a conditional member of the Web.com Tour, posting one top-25 finish – a T17 at the 2010 Wichita Open.
Wagner played the final round alongside Hadley, and made an early move with birdies on Nos. 2 and 5 to reach 11-under par – then just four shots behind Hadley early in the day.
At the narrow par-5 seventh, an errant tee shot by Wagner led to a crushing double-bogey, which dropped him back to 9-under par and out of contention. It was a late rally on the closing nine featuring birdies on 13, 14, 15 and 18 that gave Wagner a final-round 68 and a career-best T2 finish.
In 2008, Wagner burst onto the golf scene with a win at the Peru Open – an event sanctioned by the Tour de las Americas. That breakthrough victory gave way to an even more prestigious title the following year, when Wagner posted rounds of 68-71-68-68–275 to win the Challenge Tour’s Club Colombia Masters, defeating European Ryder Cup team member Edoardo Molinari by one shot.
Chris Epperson (Hilton Head Island, SC) finished in solo-fourth place at 12-under 276, earning $7,000 for his week. The finish was Epperson’s fourth consecutive top-10 on the eGolf Tour, and moved his season-long earnings up to $61,423, good for fourth on the tour’s money list. Epperson, who has nine top-10 finishes in just 13 starts this year, is currently the highest ranked player on the money list without a win in 2012.