GREENSBORO, N.C. – Reflecting on the big finish that made him last year’s Wyndham Championship winner, while also looking forward to returning this year as the reigning champion, has put J.T. Poston in a conflicted place.
There’s considerable appreciation for the crowd support that helped fuel him to victory last August, and disappointed acceptance for the muted scene that waits Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club, where spectators won’t be allowed on the grounds because of coronavirus precautions.
Poston fired an 8-under-par 62 during the Wyndham’s final round last year and delivered a tournament scoring record, a 22-under total of 258 across four rounds, becoming the first PGA Tour player since 1974 to claim a 72-hole event without carding a bogey or worse.
Three straight pars to end on clinched a one-shot victory over Webb Simpson for Poston, the Hickory native and Western Carolina product, who rode Sedgefield’s wave of home-state encouragement to break through for his first win on Tour.
“When I think back through that final round that Sunday, I had a lot of family and friends and familiar faces in the crowd,” said Poston, who’s going off on Thursday at 12:55 p.m. ET in the first round of this year’s event. “Every shot into the green, every putt that I made, every big par save down the stretch. And the last few holes, walking tee to green and I’m seeing all these people, all these familiar faces waiting on the ropes watching me, I definitely feel like I fed off of that energy, that atmosphere, being the North Carolina kid.
“If that wasn’t there, I don’t know if it would’ve changed the outcome. It might’ve changed it. It definitely would’ve made me probably feel a little different. It would’ve been weird making some of those putts, hitting some of those shots, making those big par saves down the stretch and just not having a reaction or not having anybody there cheering you on.”
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Poston started the final round a year ago by using three birdies and an eagle on the front nine to close in on third-round leader Byeong Hun An. Later, a birdie on the 15th hole vaulted Poston into sole possession of the lead.
He earned $1.1 million with the victory. The tournament hasn’t had a repeat winner since 1955-56, when Sam Snead went back-to-back in what was known as the Greater Greensboro Open.
“There’s a lot of good memories, first PGA Tour win and everything from last year,” he said. “I’m really excited to get back, but I’m pretty bummed that there won’t be fans. I was definitely looking forward to being the defending champ, and a bunch of family and friends were very excited to get out there.”
Sedgefield figures to be quiet Thursday as the first round of the Wyndham gets underway. It’s the 81st edition of Greensboro’s PGA event, and
By: Adam Smith
Title: Empty feeling without Wyndham fans for defending champ J.T. Poston
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/08/13/empty-feeling-without-wyndham-fans-for-defending-champ-j-t-poston/
Published Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 14:24:26 +0000