A recent trend of close finishes continued as J.C. Horne beat Casey Clendenon on the sixth playoff hole to win the NGA Tour event at Gordon Lakes Golf Club.
Horne, a North Florida product from Jacksonville, Fla., shot 6-under-par 278 to put himself in a three-way tie with Clendenon and Ken Looper after four rounds.
Looper was elminated from the sudden-death playoff on the first hole, while Horne and Clendenon matched each other for the next four. On their third attempt at the Island View’s par-5 ninth hole, Horne birdied while Clendenon bogeyed, giving Horne the victory and a $6,500 check.
“It was kind of nice to come off the last hole and go back out (for the playoff),” Horne said. “I didn’t have to sit and wait around, so I was still in the playing mindset.”
Horne shot 66 and 69 in the first two rounds, but struggled to 73 on the first 18 holes Saturday. The Kandy Waters tournament was slated for a 36-hole Saturday finish, and Horne responded on the second 18 with 70.
Horne, whose previous best NGA Tour finish was a tie for fourth in 2013, said he lost in a playoff Monday for U.S. Open qualifying.
“It felt good to get a win in a playoff right after that,” he said.
The playoff was the second in three years for the Kandy Waters event. Robby Ormand won in 2012 after a three-hole, sudden-death playoff with Nick Rousey. Riley Wheeldon won last year’s event by one stroke.
Clendenon shot three rounds of 69, and posted 71 on the first 18 Saturday. He joined Looper as the only two to shoot all four rounds under par.
“I hit a lot of good shots down stretch, I just didn’t have my best all day,” Clendenon said. “I just have to keep putting myself in that situation. I hit a lot of quality shots in the playoff, so I can’t be too disappointed.”
The Kandy Waters event moved to Gordon Lakes after previously being held at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club. Horne said he was impressed by the course’s quality and layout.
The tournament’s field totaled 27, which dwindled to 10 after Friday’s cut. That resulted in only a 12-stroke difference between first and last following the cut.
“Having only 10 guys make the cut was a first for me, but it’s just one of those things,” Clendenon said. “Regardless how many are out there, we’re all trying to get the win.”