Originally created 11/07/97

Strangers win Tear Drop Pro-Am title

Scott Medlin and Eric Brito will always remember the first time they worked together.

The golfers came to Augusta as strangers to compete in the TearDrop Pro-Pro Championship at the Jones Creek Golf Club. They came separately not knowing what to expect from each other. They combined to create a formidable team for the three-day mini-tour event.

Medlin, from Rockingham, N.C., secured the $10,000 first prize for himself and Brito with a 10-foot birdie putt in a one-hole playoff Thursday. The six-year veteran of mini-tour golf said he was nervous as he lined up the game-winning shot.

"I wanted it though," Medlin said. "I felt I could make it."

Brito, from Miami, carried the burden the first two days with exceptional putting. He consistently found the cup even on putts longer than 20 feet.

"I didn't play well at all the first two days," Medlin said. "He made some 25-30 footers like they were going out of style. I picked him up today."

Medlin and Brito felt they had the title in the bag heading to the 16th hole of the final round, which was played with a modified alternate shot format. However, their three-shot lead did not hold up as Jeff Thorson and Chris Couch birdied two of the final three holes while Medlin and Brito bogeyed one to finish tied at 21-under par.

The newly found friends made the most of their chance in the playoff on the par-4 first hole. The modified alternate shot format allows both players to hit off each tee, then choose a drive for the alternating shots. They chose Medlin's straight drive, and Brito hit the 170-yard approach shot to within 10 feet to set up Medlin's winning stroke after Couch missed a 25-foot birdie try.

"It worked out real good," Brito said of the pairing with Medlin. "I didn't even have a car this week, I'm hitching a ride home with a couple of friends from Jacksonville. I guess I'll take a bus from there."

Brito has played on the Nike Tour and competed in most of the TearDrop Tour stops this season. Neither golfer was able to string together a whole day of great golf in this event, where the first round was played as better ball and the second round as captain's choice.

"He would chunk a ball in the water and I'd hit it on the green," Brito said.

Medlin said the two were communicating too much early in the three-day tournament.

"The best thing we did was to stop giving advice to each other," Medlin said. "We kept giving advice and we don't know each other so we both said in the middle of the first round (Tuesday), `You play your game, I'll play mine.' It worked a whole lot better."

Medlin had two partners back out on him this week. He felt fortunate to get such a good replacement.

"It turned out I picked the right man this week," Medlin said.


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