Kyle Kochevar
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Photo by Jennea Bono

Kyle Kochevar, a junior from the University of Virginia, shot 2-under 68 to come from behind to win the 2014 Patriot All-America Invitational. Kochevar finished the tournament at 1-under and outlasted Arizona freshman, George Cunningham in a two-hole playoff. The 54-hole event was played on the Gold Course at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Kochevar, who played in this third-straight Patriot All-America Invitational, began the round in fifth place, four shots out of the lead. Kochevar bogeyed the first hole but three of the four players ahead of him in the standings posted the same score. Second-round leader Aaron Wise fell into a three-way tie at 1-under with Thomas Lim and Jimmy Beck after birdies by Lim and Beck at holes five and six, respectively, and a Wise bogey on No. 6. Lim would take sole possession of the lead after bogeys by Beck and Wise at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively. He would extend his lead and move to 2-under after a birdie on No. 11.

Meanwhile, Kochevar and Cunningham were moving up the leader board. Birdies at Nos. 7 and 12 moved Kochevar to even for the event. Cunningham tallied birdies at 5, 7 and 13 – with a bogey mixed in at No. 6 – to move within two shots of the lead at even par.

Lim bogeyed No. 14 to see his lead over Kochevar and Cunningham cut to one shot. Kochevar and Cunningham would each birdie No. 16 for a three-way tie for the lead. Lim would bogey No. 17 and par 18 with Kochevar and Cunningham in the clubhouse at 1-under.

The playoff was played on No. 18. Both golfers lipped out birdie putts on the first playoff hole. Cunningham tapped in for par and Kochevar sunk a 2 1/2 foot par putt. Cunningham hit his second playoff drive into the right greenside bunker. Playing from a difficult lie, he left his next shot in the bunker and would go on to record double bogey. With two putts to win, Kochevar sunk a short par putt to win the title.

“I bogeyed my first hole,” said Kochevar. “I played that hole well both rounds. I had an easy putt to par but didn’t make it. I knew what it would take being a veteran of this tournament. I knew the weather would give people problems and just tried to make sure it didn’t give me problems. I stuck to my game plan and made some birdies throughout the round. I had a little luck in there and ended up well. I didn’t expect the playoff but just stuck to my game plan and didn’t change much. I always say if I get invited back, of course I would play. Mostly for the cause, it is really great. I met the family who I carried my bag for last year this summer and they were emotional to see me and I got emotional when I saw them. There is nothing better than that.”