MIDLAND, Texas — New Zealand’s Danny Lee won the WNB Golf Classic on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title, beating former Georgia star Harris English with a par on the first hole of a playoff.
The 21-year-old Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champion, closed with a 6-under 66 to match English (69) at 18-under 270 at Midland Country Club.
Lee, born in South Korea, earned $94,500 to jump from 14th to fourth on the money list with $271,700. The top 25 after the final four events will earn 2012 PGA Tour cards.
“It feels great to win again,” Lee said. “I haven’t won a tournament since I won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic and it’s a great feeling. It’s not easy to win and I worked really hard with my uncle and my coach for this. I’m really happy it worked.”
English, making his second pro start, won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational in July as an amateur. He tied for 49th last week in his pro debut in the Soboba Golf Classic.
In the playoff on the par-4 18th, Lee’s tee shot hit a tree and kicked right, leaving him a clear shot to the flag. His second landed in the greenside bunker and he blasted out within a foot. English’s drive ended up behind trees and he was forced to punch out. He hit his third to about 7 feet, but missed the par putt.
“I didn’t hit my tee shot where I wanted to in the playoff,” English said. “I tried to get a good angle at the flag, but kind of got a bad break, but that’s what happens. … Overall, it was a good day.”
Lee, set to play in the Korea Open this week, eagled the par-5 fourth and birdied on Nos. 6, 10, 15 and 16.
English also had an eagle, on the par-5 12th, and reached under with a birdie on No. 15. He earned $56,700 to jump to 79th on the money list with $59,288.
South Africa’s Garth Mulroy (64) was third at 16 under, and Bob Heintz (66), Craig Bowden (71) and Australia’s Gavin Coles (73) finished at 15 under. Third-round leader B.J. Staten, six strokes ahead of Lee entering the final round, shot a 77 to tie for 10th at 13 under.
“I didn’t hit it well today and I got out of my tempo and then you start pressing,” Staten said. “I just didn’t make anything all day. It’s unfortunate because you’ve got to put four rounds together out here or you’re not going to win.”