GA Tour rookie Hal Sutton birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff, then defeated Bill Britton with a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole today to win the season's final event, the Walt Disney World Open Golf Classic, for his first professional victory.
Sutton, 24, led going into the last round a week ago in Pensacola only to close with a 74 and take a second-place tie; he came from five shots off the pace on the final 18 here.
While Jay Haas, the third-round leader by five strokes, bogeyed holes 10, 11 and 12 and took 73, Sutton came in with 67 for a 19-under-par 269 total to Haas' 270. And, at that, Sutton had to make a 15-foot putt on the final hole of regulation to tie Britton, who took eight shots off par with a 64, featured by a back-nine 30, on the last round over the rain-soaked, 7,150-yard Magnolia course.
Britton, a third-year pro never before close to winning, matched pars with Sutton through three holes of sudden death.
Both hit their second shots on the par-5 fourth hole into greenside bunkers. Britton, with a buried lie in damp, heavy sand, failed to get his third shot on the putting surface. Sutton came out to 15 feet. Britton chipped to two feet in four, and watched Sutton close it out for top money of $72,000.
Britton collected $43,200, while Sutton's rookie-season earnings grew to $237,434, the tour record.