From Dustin Roberts Golf Coaches Association of America
Litchfield Park, Ariz. – Cory Whitsett closed with a five-under-par 66 to win the inaugural Patriot All-America Invitational on the Gold Course at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Whitsett’s three-round total of 14-under 199 was three strokes better than his college roommate at Alabama Bobby Wyatt.
Whitsett entered the round with a two-shot lead but Wyatt applied pressure early by pulling even with an eagle on the first hole. Both players birded the fourth hole. Whitsett would move back into the lead with a birdie at No. 5. Wyatt responded with two-straight birdies before a bogey at eighth hole pulled the pair even at 11-under for the tournament. Whitsett would reclaim the lead for good after a birdie on No. 10 was paired with a Wyatt bogey. Birdies on Nos. 12, 15 and 18 pushed Whitsett’s lead to its final margin of three shots.
“I didn’t get off to the best of starts,” said Whitsett. “I had a par on one. Made good birdies on four and five and got some good momentum going on the back nine. Birdied 10 and bogeyed 11 but played pretty steady from then on in. Had a bunch of good opportunities and converted a few of them. I knew that Bobby (Wyatt) was going to do some good things. He’s been putting to well all week. I felt like any time it was on the green it could have gone in. Sticking to my guns is what I’ve been doing all week and giving myself opportunities and that’s all I needed to do.”
Austin Cook and Julian Suri tied for third at 4-under while Joe David and Paul McConnell shared fifth-place at 3-under 210. Johannes Veerman, Richy Werenski and Andrew Yun finished in a three-way tie for seventh with a total of 211 (-2). Evan Beck, Ben Klaus and Patrick Rodgers completed the top 10 at 1-under for tournament.
Each player in the field received a golf bag at the opening ceremony with the name and branch of service of a fallen or disabled military member whom they represented this week. The respective athletic departments of the student-athletes will auction these golf bags with all proceeds designated for the Folds of Honor Foundation.
“It’s a great idea first of all, the event,” stated Whitsett. “Obviously nothing’s been done like this before. It’s awesome. They (United States Armed Forces) do so much for us. They’re the reason we’re here today and could compete. I’m just glad that we could help them anyway that we could.”