Birdie on the final hole lifts Motes

  • Follow Latest News

By David Westin

Staff Writer

THOMSON — It was hard to tell who was more stunned as they walked off the 18th green at Belle Meade Country Club on Sunday: Matthew Motes, who just made a 15-foot birdie putt, or Jacob Tilton, who three-putted from 25 foot for bogey.

The two-shot swing gave Motes a one-shot victory over Tilton in the Regions Cup’s Camellia Classic.

Motes, who will be a sophomore on the Armstrong Atlantic State University golf team this fall, shot his second consecutive 2-under-par 70 to finish at 140.

Tilton, who will join Motes on the Pirates team as a freshman, followed his first-round leading 68 with 73.

Tilton had just made a 4-foot birdie on the par-3 17th hole to take a one-shot lead over Motes.

“I felt it was mine to lose – and I lost it,” Tilton said. “Matt made a great birdie on 18, but with a par, I get into a playoff.”

Motes’ game plan on No. 18 was to “keep hitting the shots I needed to. I was thinking we’ve got one hole remaining and anything can happen.”

No one knows that better than Motes, In last year’s 54-hole Augusta City Amateur, he opened up with 63 and led for the first 52 holes. Trailing Jordan Johnstun by one going to final hole, Motes took a 9 and shot 77, finishing third, seven behind Johnstun, who won it.

“This gives me confidence to be in position and know you can win,” Motes said.

After that crushing city amateur loss, Motes said he “took a little break and hit it back hard. I can’t remember wanting to quit. I knew I was right there and had a chance to win.”

Ironically, Johnstun played the role of Motes at Belle Meade. The two-time U.S. Amateur participant, who opened with 69, had a triple bogey on No. 14 and ended up tying for fifth after 74.

Motes wasn’t keeping track of how he stood in the tournament going to the final hole.

“I just kind of knew I needed to make that putt,” he said.

He’d been leaving most of his putts short of the hole and it looked like he’d done it again.

“I thought it was short, then it kept getting closer and got a little nudge forward. It was nice to see one get to the hole,” he said.

Rookie Paul Moore made sure there were no 18th-hole dramatics in the senior division.

Moore, who turned 50 on April 27, shot 69 to win by three shots over Glen Hurt and Mark Ernyei, another senior rookie. Moore, who opened with 74, finished at 1-under 143.

Moore’s 69 included an eagle on the par-4 12 hole, where he made an 8-footer after driving the green. The 69 was the low Sunday score among the seniors by four shots and allowed Moore to rally from two shots back at the start of the day.

Moore made his Regions Cup senior division debut last week at Persimmon Hill, where he tied for third place.

Fellow senior Jerry Beard, who has played many rounds of golf with Moore, believes he’ll be the new king of the hill in the senior ranks.

“He’s going to be the man to beat in these tournaments from now on,” Beard said. “He’s long and he can make some putts. He’s 50. That’s when the kings come out.”

Moore, who plans to play a full Regions Cup schedule this season, isn’t so sure.

“Jumping up in senior division is amazing,” he said. “There are so many good players 50 and over. (Winning) is no gimme.”

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851

or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.


Search Augusta jobs