ZACHARY —Blaine Patin found his comfort zone Sunday afternoon, and the only suspense at the BREC Players Championship was waiting to see who would finish second.
Patin began the day with a two-shot lead over Wendell Akins, but quickly extended his lead early in the round. Patin’s lead grew to eight strokes at the turn, and he cruised to a six-shot victory.
“I was really looking forward to two days of good golf. It was fun, and a lot of it I attribute to the group of guys we play with,” said Patin, who shot 68-67 for a two-day total of 135, 9-under par.
The general manager at The Oaks of Sherwood Golf Course, Patin played his final round with three other members from his home course — Akins, Donny Schmitt and Brett Baker.
Akins shot 71, and finished second at 3-under for the tournament. Baker also shot 71, and tied Schmitt for third at 1-under. Scott Haynie shot his second 73 Sunday, and was fifth at 2-over.
Schmitt briefly pulled within two shots of Patin with an eagle at the par-5 second, but gave them back with a double bogey at five. Schmitt went on to finish third, which in turn gave him enough points to earn his second consecutive BREC Golfer of the Year award.
“The golfer of the year competition is just going to get better and better,” said Schmitt, who last year got a reserved parking spot at Santa Maria as well as a sponsor’s exemption into the Adams Pro Tour event in May.
Schmitt led Adam Zayor by 77 points before the BREC Players Championship, and finished the 10-tournament series with 2,158 points. The award provided a final lift for Schmitt, who was unable to challenge Patin after his double bogey at five.
“We had a good battle for second place,” Schmitt said. “One of the hardest things to do in golf is to play a good round on Saturday, and then back it up with another one on Sunday. Blaine did a real good job.”
Patin started his round with birdies at two and five, but the shot of the day was Patin’s third at the par-5 sixth. He had 92 yards to the green after a lay up, and a perfect wedge made sure he didn’t regret it.
There was little doubt that it was Patin’s day after his approach hit 5 feet past the pin, and spun back into the cup for an eagle.
“That was a cool way to get to 4-under,” said Patin, who continued to shoot at the flags.
“I stayed fairly aggressive, and didn’t dial it back much at all. With Donny, Wendell and Brett, they could easily have had two or three straight birdies, and I could have had two or three bogeys.”
Patin added birdies at 11 and 12, and a closing bogey at 18 was meaningless.
Akins made eight straight pars, and was in the fringe, pin-high at the ninth in two. A chip and a careless three-putt led to double bogey, but Akins fought back.
At 10, a wedge to 2 feet brought a birdie, and Akins added a 10-foot eagle putt on 11. But Akins missed a birdie chance at the par-5 13th, and he made no further headway.
“There was no doubt (Blaine) was playing better than the rest of us because of his putting,” said Akins, who moved to Baton Rouge from Georgia three years ago. As a player, when you see that, you can push and push, but you’re not going to catch someone who’s hitting fairways and greens, and putting like that. You just do what you can do, and play for second.”