Lovemark wins Mexico Open in playoff

Jamie Lovemark at the 2009 Frys.com Open.

LEON, Mexico – Jamie Lovemark won the Mexico Open Bicentenary on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour victory, beating B.J. Staten with a 3-foot eagle putt on the first hole of a playoff at El Bosque Country Club.

Lovemark, the 22-year-old former Southern California star who won the 2007 NCAA title, closed with a 4-under 68 to match Staten (69) at 12-under 276, then hit a 6-iron from 235 yards to set up his winning eagle on the 567-yard 18th hole.

“It was definitely the best shot I’ve hit in a really long time,” Lovemark said. “My caddie and I figured the ball would go 12 percent farther due to elevation and another 8 percent because of adrenaline. ... I think it was half luck, half skill.”

Staten’s second shot came up short in the hazard and he scrambled for par.

Lovemark had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in regulation Sunday after opening with rounds of 65, 71 and 72.

“This is a great course where you can make a lot of birdies but you have to stay patient out here,” Lovemark said. “I knew it was going to be tough out here today but I had to try really hard to not let any bad thoughts come into my head.”

Lovemark earned $108,000 to jump from 10th to second on the money list with $247,351. The final top 25 will earn 2011 PGA Tour cards.

“I haven’t won since 2007, so I can’t tell you how special it is for me to win out here,” Lovemark said. “I’ve knocked on the door a few times this year and to seal the deal feels so good.”

Mexico’s Efren Serna Jr. (69) was a stroke out of the playoff, and countryman Jose Rodriguez (68) was fourth at 10 under. Frank Lickliter II (67), Hunter Haas (67) and Colt Knost (68) followed at 9 under.

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