2013 Spirit Player and Medalists Gavin Green bested Houstonian and Spirit Alumnus Cory Whitsett to win the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic at El Paso C.C. in El Paso, Texas.
EL PASO, Texas – Gavin Green shot a final-round, 5-under 66 at the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic to win by one over 2011 champion Cory Whitsett on Tuesday.
The New Mexico junior tamed the 6,842-yard El Paso Country Club and finished with a three-round total of 11-under 202. Whitsett finished at 10 under. In solo third was Georgia Tech junior Anders Albertson after a final-round, 4-under 67.
At the start of the final round, Green, a native of Malaysia, started two shots back of Whitsett.
Whitsett held the lead for most of the day, with Albertson and California junior Michael Kimgrabbing a share of the lead at the turn. But an eagle at the par-5 ninth hole gave Green the lead for good.
He maintained his lead after making back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 and added another on 16.
Green found the water off the tee on the par-4 17th after taking a two-stroke lead. He had a nice recovery shot and two-putted for bogey.
“I was a little surprised,” Whitsett said. “He (Green) was in control all day. He hit every shot right where he was looking. It was definitely an opening. He hit a great, great third shot in there and made a good bogey after the tee shot. I had a chance there, but couldn’t quite convert.”
Whitsett’s 8-foot birdie putt just slid by and Green took a one-shot lead into 18.
After Green’s tee shot found the fairway and Whitsett’s was behind the tree on 18, both Green and Whitsett hit their approach shots over the green. The difference: Whitsett had a decent lie in the rough, while Green’s was buried. Whitsett hit his chip shot to 4 feet, while Green chopped his out to 10 feet.
Green sunk his putt and the title was his.
“I knew where I stood,” Green said. “It was a left-to-right putt and I really don’t like left to rights, but I just picked out a point about 5 feet away, and just thought about my business, just get it there and it went in.”
By making that putt, Green became the first New Mexico product to win the event in its 39-year history.
And what does the champion of the All-America Classic do after his win? Make the three-and-a-half hour drive back to Albuquerque with Lobos head coach Glen Millican and go to his final science lab at 6:30 p.m. before Thanksgiving break.
But he’ll be forgiven for being a bit distracted at class after his come-from-behind win.
“It’s a very good thing,” Green said. “I’m pretty proud of myself for doing this, especially all the good players that have won this … I just want to see what happens in the future.”
After all, this is the tournament “Where Legends Get Started.”