LUMBERTON — Thirty-six holes wasn’t enough to decide the Regular Division champion at the Robeson County Golf Championship in Lumberton, sponsored by Dial Insurance, on Sunday.
Junior Nance shot a 1-under 71 in the final round at Pinecrest Country Club to finish in a tie with Michael White and force a playoff. Nance won on the opening hole, rolling in a birdie to claim the title. His victory comes a year after winning the Senior Division.
“I drove the ball straight today,” Nance said after having woes off the tee on Saturday. “I still didn’t putt really good, but I didn’t miss any short putts. It was a solid round of golf.”
The one-hole playoff provided good and bad bounces off the tee for Nance and White, who were tied at 147 after the completion of 36 holes. Nance flew the bunker on the left side of the No. 1 fairway and got a kick toward the green to leave him under 100 yards to the flag, while White was in a tough spot after he drove through the dogleg in the fairway and into a hard lie that led to trouble.
“My intended line was between the bunker and the 150-yard stake and I pulled it,” Nance said of the 380-yard first hole. “(Over the bunker) is the hot spot and if you hit over there it kicks and goes. I had 98 yards in.”
“The ball was laying down in the rough and the ground was real hard under the ball,” White said. “I just didn’t get the ball up under the clubface correctly.”
White duffed his shot and it rolled to the fairway 30 yards short of the green, and Nance stuck his approach inside of 15 feet, where he rolled in the putt to win the division.
“I guess experience is what definitely won the tournament today,” White said.
Nance rode a consistent wave through his round with 17 pars and a birdie on the par-3 12th hole to make up for his first-round 76.
White got to 1-under for the round with a birdie on No. 4, but dropped shots on Nos. 7, 9, 10 and 16 before a birdie on the 17th to finish the round with a 4-over 76. He went 4-over on the par-3s in the second round.
“It was an up-and-down round,” White said.
Coming into the day one shot off the lead, Stoney Stone shot a 39 on the back nine that included a double bogey on No. 16 and a bogey on 18 to leave him one shot out of the playoff.
“It was a great match,” Nance said. “We stayed pretty close the whole day, the three of us, and it really tightened up from No. 15 on in.”
Marty Hunt tied in third place with Stone with a final-round 71 off a front nine score of 33.
Jonathan Bym is a sports writer for The Robesonian in Lumberton.