Overton Finishes Second at Porter Cup
July 28, 2004
LEWISTON, N.Y. - Indiana men's senior golfer Jeff Overton, the seventh-ranked amateur in the U.S., finished second at the 46th Porter Cup at the Niagara Falls Country Club on July 20-24. The second team All-American finished a shot behind Spencer Levin, finishing at 6-under 274 (69-71-64-70).
Although the 20-year-old from Elk Grove, Calif., shot a final round 4-over-par 74 on the demanding, wind-swept Niagara Falls County Club course -- a round in which he closed with three consecutive bogeys -- Levin managed to eke out a one-stroke victory in the prestigious Porter Cup.
Levin, a junior at New Mexico and a second-team All-America selection last season, finished with a 7-under 273 total to claim arguably his biggest victory of his young and promising career.
Finishing at 6-under 274 after a closing 70 was Overton. Justin Smith, who recently completed his college career at Minnesota, had the best round of the final day with a 4-under 66 and placed third overall at 4-under 276.
Levin started the day at 11-under-par and held a four-shot advantage over Georgia Tech's Nick Thompson, with Overton another shot back.
Overton, who won five college tournaments last fall, got within two shots with birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 and remained two back at the turn. He finally caught Levin with a birdie at the par-5, 11th, where Levin, playing down the rough on the left side his first three shots, made bogey.
But Levin answered with a birdie at the par-3, 12th and went up by two when Overton bogeyed the par-5, 13th. Both players missed the green and bogeyed the par-3, 16th, leaving Levin with a two-shot lead with two to play.
Again, Levin and Overton were just off the green at the par-4, 17th and both again made bogey -- Overton leaving his 45-foot birdie putt from the front fringe 12 feet right of the hole and then missing the putt.
At the par-3, 18th, Overton overshot the green into the crown and had an almost impossible up and down with the pin tucked in the back. Levin's tee shot found the left front bunker. After Levin blasted out to 10 feet, Overton hit an outstanding flop shot with the ball trickling 12 feet past.
Overton made the putt to save par. Still, Levin knew all he had to do was two-putt to preserve the victory. He rolled his par putt to six inches and tapped in.
"I knew the golf course would play its toughest today, and I knew there would be a lot of pressure on us (final threesome) with it being the final round," said Overton. "There was a huge crowd out there watching us and I think they got their money's worth. It was fun and exciting.
"I'm proud of the way I played this week and that I gave myself a chance to win coming down the stretch. It was a good experience, and I think I learned a little more about myself and how to handle the pressure. I feel I gave it a good shot, but Spencer did what he had to do and won."
Levin's month-long run of success began at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills where he was low amateur and tied for 13th in the field of the world's best players. A week later he captured the California State Amateur and the following week he won the Scratch Players Championship in his home state. The week before Porter Cup, he finished second at the Southern Amateur at The Honors Course just outside Chattanooga, Tenn.
Golfweek senior writer Ron Balicki contributed to this story.
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