AIKEN — Austin Langdale didn’t miss the birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday.
In fact, the Pendleton golfer didn’t miss much as he blistered Palmetto Golf Club en route to a tournament-record 7-under-par 64 to win the individual title at the 38th annual Southern Cross Invitational.
And, thanks to strong play from Langdale’s teammates, Pendleton roared from behind to win the team title, too.
Langdale, a junior who has already committed to play at Clemson, shot 68 on Friday but left Palmetto with a bad taste after a short birdie putt on the final hole lipped out.
This time, Langdale spun his approach to the back-left pin to five feet from the cup and then pumped his fist after he curled in the putt.
“I was wanting to make that one after what happened (Friday),” Langdale said.
Langdale said his plan was to attack early and perhaps put some pressure on first-round leader Jonathan Hardee, who was playing a few groups behind.
Langdale torched the front nine with birdies at Nos. 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9.
“I wanted to get off to a hot start,” Langdale said. “The whole front nine I was flagging everything.”
After a birdie at No. 10, he realized he was in good shape and started to play safe.
That led to a bogey at No. 12, but he bounced back with birdies at Nos. 14 and 18. Langdale said he missed a few short putts and could have gone even lower.
“To play this good with my team behind me, that was pretty cool in itself,” Langdale said.
In the team competition, Pendleton started the day six shots behind Riverside but made up ground in a hurry. The Bulldogs also counted 68 by Carson Young and 79 from L.D. Coker for a total of 2-under 211.
Langdale’s birdie putt on the final hole turned out to be the difference as Pendleton nipped hard-charging South Aiken by one shot. The Thoroughbreds had four scores of 73 or better Saturday, led by Ryan Carpenter’s 70. Both Carpenter and Hayden Ploeger came to the final hole needing a birdie to put South Aiken in a playoff, but both made par.
“You can’t take anything away from (their effort),” South Aiken coach Drew Jernigan said. “Especially to have all four guys play well.”
Coach Tim Wood said Pendleton hadn’t competed in the Southern Cross since the late 1990s, but Langdale had competed in recent years as an individual. With both Langdale and Young having one more year of eligibility, a return invite won’t be a problem.