Wyatt holds off Spieth to win HP Boys
Bobby Wyatt won his second AJGA invitational in the last six months with a two-shot victory over top-ranked Jordan Spieth Monday at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods.
Wyatt, 17, of Mobile, Ala., survived a cold and windy day to post a final-round 74 for a 5-under 211 total and wire-to-wire victory. Wyatt, who won the AJGA’s Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass last September and will attend Alabama next fall, opened the weekend with an eight-birdie 7-under 65, the best round of the tournament by three shots.
Bobby Wyatt talks about his wire-to-wire victory at the HP Boys Championship, his second AJGA invitational title.
“It’s a great feeling because I didn’t finish well here at all last year, and it’s nice to finally seal the deal,” said Wyatt, who bogeyed No. 18 in the final round last year to miss the playoff by one stroke.
Wyatt stepped to the 16th tee Monday with a four-shot lead, but made consecutive bogeys on Nos. 16-17 and watched his lead dwindle to two.
It didn’t matter. Wyatt two-putted for par on 18 to secure his victory after Spieth missed the 18th green in two and rolled his birdie pitch 3 feet past.
“It’s always competitive, and especially with the two guys I was playing with today, Jordan and Cory (Whitsett); they’re great players,” said Wyatt. “It really came down to the wire and it was a lot of fun.”
Wyatt hinted to his good form at last week’s Jones Cup Invitational at Sea Island, Ga., where he placed fifth in rainy and windy conditions among a field of top-ranked collegians and amateurs.
Spieth, 16, of Dallas, who recently announced his verbal committment to Texas, also closed in 74, and missed several mid-range birdie putts throughout the afternoon. His double-bogey on the par-4 first hole didn’t help, either.
“(The cold and windy weather) was definitely the toughest out of the three days, but I felt like the course was still very playable,” Spieth said. “Obviously everybody is going to struggle a bit out there, so you just have to stay patient. I thought it’d give me more of a chance because there are going to be more bad holes for everybody out there. I only hit half the number balls I normally would on the range and then I just went inside; I needed to warm up. It was tough out there and unfortunately I didn’t get off to the kind of start that I wanted, so that was the difference in the round today.”
Anthony Paolucci finished third after a 71, the best final round, four shots back of Wyatt.
Cory Whitsett, the third member of the final group with Wyatt and Spieth, shot 76 and tied for fifth. Whitsett, who is headed to Alabama with Wyatt in the fall, was playing in the final group of an AJGA stroke-play event for the first time since the 2008 PING Invitational. Whitsett was sidelined most of 2009 with a back injury.
“I hadn’t been in that position in a long time, so it was great just to get back in there and be in the final group,” Whitsett said. “I was telling my dad last night that it was exciting. The rust obviously showed, but it was awesome. I just love competing and that’s why I play golf.”
Short shots: Wyatt wasn't the only winning Bobby on site at Carlton Woods, either. Bobby Gates, a winner last week at the Nationwide Tour event in New Zealand, volunteered as a guest starter Monday morning. Gates won the 2004 HP Boys Championship when it was played at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla.