ATHENS, Ga. -- A Georgia player won the Nationwide Tour's Stadion Classic at UGA for the second straight year.
All it took was for Hudson Swafford to shoot a course-record 9-under 62 -- capped by a chip-in for birdie out of the sand on the 18th hole -- to finish at 17 under and win by one stroke over Luke List and two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen in Sunday's final round.
"I heard it hit the pin and then I heard everybody just go nuts so I just had a feeling when I went up there and saw it disappeared," Swafford said. "I don’t know, I just kind of blacked out to be honest with you. I didn’t expect it, but I was pretty fired up when it was in the hole."
The former Bulldog entered the day in a tie for 15th place at 8 under, five strokes behind leader Tyrone Van Aswegen. He fell even further behind with a bogey on the first hole Sunday, but that turned out to be his one and only bogey of the day.
Swafford responded with a birdie on No. 2, then carded three in a row at 5-7. He added more runs of three straight birdies at 11-13 and 16-18, none more dramatic than the chip-in on the final hole.
Tied with List at 16 under at the time and playing before a sizable gallery of partisan fans at the UGA Golf Course, Swafford hit his second shot off the face of the bunker to the front left of the 18th green. It trickled back into the sand, where it was sitting up approximately 30 feet from the pin.
The uphill lip of the bunker blocked Swafford's view of the hole, but the several hundred fans around the green promptly let him know what happened when his chip ricocheted off the flagstick a foot above the hole and fell directly in the cup.
"I was actually relieved when I thought about it that it hit the bunker and came back down because over that bunker would have been no good," Swafford said. "We kind of discussed that, my caddie and I. He was like, ‘Man, this is fine. This is an easy uphill bunker shot. You’ll have a chance.’ He goes, ‘You’ll probably end up making it,’ and we kind of talked about that. Lo and behold it happened."
List birdied the par-5 17th to move into a tie for first with Swafford at 17 under, but clipped a tree with his second shot on 18 and eventually bogeyed to finish a stroke behind. Janzen birdied seven of the last eight holes, but finished a stroke behind, as well.
The win is 2011 UGA grad Swafford's first on the Nationwide Tour and marks the second consecutive year that a UGA player won the event on the Bulldogs' home course. Russell Henley won last year as an active Georgia player, making him only the second amateur player in history to win a Nationwide Tour event.