GRANITEVILLE -- The seven remaining Cadillac Cup tournaments this season are going to have a tough time matching Sunday's finish in the Gordon Uhl/Golf Capital Invitational at Midland Valley Country Club.
In the opening Cadillac Cup event of the season, Rusty Flanders of North Augusta won a duel with Aiken's Brennen King, turning back the Clemson golfer on the first hole of sudden death.
The 32-year-old Flanders and the 20-year-old King finished regulation play at 2-under-par 140 in a tournament they turned into a two-man show.
Flanders, one of five Midland Valley owners and the club's golf course superintendent since 1991, had Sunday's low round, a 70, while King shot 71. Al Fortney shot 75 and finished third, five shots back.
The playoff, which started at the par-4 first hole, was short and not so sweet for a disbelieving King.
It was advantage King off the tee after Flanders sliced his ball into the woods. King, in prime position on the left side of the fairway, hit his second shot on the green, 20 feet above the hole.
Flanders punched out, leaving him 85 yards to the green for his third shot. Knowing the green tilted from right to left, Flanders hit his shot to the right side of the green and let the ball trickle down toward the pin, cut back left. It ended up about eight feet above the hole.
"That was local knowledge," Flanders said. "There is so much slope there that it had to come back down. I was fortunate to hit it where I wanted to. I wanted to be below the hole, but eight feet, I'll take it."
King's birdie putt went more than eight feet past the hole. King still was away, and missed the comebacker. Flanders then rolled in his par putt.
"I breathed on it, just touched it, and it went in," Flanders said.
Before he hit the winning putt, Flanders called for a ruling from Midland head pro Steve Foss to see if he or King were away. He was hoping it still was King's turn. It was.
"Making him putt first for his second putt when he was still thinking about his first one was a little match play experience," Flanders said. "That was the difference, him putting first. It let me have a full run at it."
King had practically the same par putt in the final round on the first hole as he did in the playoff. He two-putted the first time around.
"I thought I hit it about the same, but I guess I hit it a little too hard," King said. "Oh well, that green is quick. It can get away from you quickly if you're not careful."
King, the first round leader after a 69, and Flanders quickly pulled away from the rest of the field in the final round. King shot a 1-under-par 34 on the front nine and Flanders had 35. King led by two shots at the time.
Flanders took his first lead when he birdied the par-three 13th -- his second birdie in a row. Flanders' lead grew to two shots after King bogeyed No. 14. However, Flanders bogeyed 15 and King birdied 16 to pull even again. Flanders parred the final three holes, and King parred his final two holes to force the playoff.
King had a clutch par on the 18th to even get in the playoff. After hooking his tee shot on the par-4, he punched out, leaving himself 65 yards to the pin. King knocked the shot four feet from the pin and made the putt.
Flanders, playing in the group in front of King, kept a close watch on him all day.
"I just knew it was going to be a playoff," Flanders said.
As the Midland Valley superintend, Flanders plays the course an average of once a week. However, he works on it with his crew every working day.
"When it comes to playing your home course in a tournament, I'm all for that," Flanders said.
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