ZACHARY — Brandt Garon used four birdies to separate himself from the field, and then relied on his short game to keep the pressure on and win the BREC Player of the Year tournament Sunday afternoon at Beaver Creek golf course.
Garon missed three of the final five greens but got up-and-down to save par each time. He went on to post a final-round 69 to take first place with a two-day total of 5-under par 139.
Garon was the only golfer to shoot under par both days, and the only one under par on Sunday.
“It wasn’t one of my best ball-striking days, but I’ve been working a lot on my chipping. It’s good to see it come around when it needed to,” said Garon, a former University of Louisiana at Lafayette golfer who has played four tournaments on the Adams Tight Lies tour this year.
Blaine Patin made bogey at 18 but finished second at even-par 144 after shooting 73. Ed Mitchell and Mike Drury tied for third at 149.
Drury began the day tied for the lead at 2-under along with Garon. When Garon bogeyed the first hole, Drury had a chance to turn things his way with a 10-foot putt for birdie. He missed the putt and eventually dropped out of the lead for good after consecutive bogeys at 3 and 4.
“(Mike) could have changed the momentum quick,” Garon said. “I bogeyed (the first hole) but was able to birdie the second.”
It was a pleasant change for Garon after struggling with the front nine par 5s on Saturday. On Sunday, he birdied both par 5s and made the turn at 1-under.
He narrowly missed hitting the par-5 11th in two but chipped up for a short birdie. He added a 10-footer for birdie at 12 and led Patin by three strokes.
Patin hit seven greens on the back nine and had birdie putts just miss on 11, 13 and 17. He also had a chip on the 12th finish six inches from the cup.
“I hit a lot of greens, but I two-putted a bunch,” Patin said. “I made a nice birdie putt on 9, but that was it. I didn’t necessarily putt poorly, but I just didn’t make them.
“Playing against Brandt, you’ve got to shoot a low number. You know he’s going to shoot 3 or 4-under, so it puts pressure on you to make putts.”
Making putts wasn’t a problem for Garon. His approach on 14 was short of the green, but he made a 5-footer to save par. At 16, he caught a flyer out of the rough but saved par from 60 feet past the hole on the back fringe.
Garon missed 17 to the right but played his second from fairway grass to within three feet for another save.
“I was nervous coming into this,” Garon said. “There are so many good players in Baton Rouge. A few of them weren’t here, but the field was still really good. It felt good to come out and play solid.”
Shane Starns shot 78 on Sunday and tied for eighth at 8-over 152. The finish gave left him atop the Player of the Year cumulative standings with 2,377 points. Starns took home a trophy, a customized Titlist golf bag, and bragging rights over friend and second-place finisher Scott Wilfong.
“There was pressure all day, and the heat was brutal,” Starns said. “I felt like if I could keep it in the 70s for two rounds I’d be OK. With as hot and wet as it was, I was completely happy.”