Spencer Ralston pulled off an amazing comeback to win the 20th annual Players Amateur at the Berkeley Hall Club.
Ralston, a senior at Georgia, began the final round trailing leader Stewart Hagestad by 11 strokes but shot a final-round, 9-under 63 to win the tournament. He finished the tournament at 19-under, one shot better than Hagestad.
Ralston’s win earned him an exemption in the 2020 RBC Heritage, South Carolina’s annual PGA TOUR event. He told reporters that he is looking forward to the chance to play on the PGA TOUR with his friends and family watching.
“You always want people on your side and I’m sure I’ll have some friends and family here. So I haven’t looked at the dates yet but I know I’ll be busy with the spring season,” Ralston said. “I’m sure it’ll be kind of chaotic in the weeks leading up to [the Heritage] and afterwards. So I need to be in good form.”
Ralston had carded eight birdies and one eagle before he hit his drive on No. 18 behind a tree. He ended up bogeying the hole and thought that had ruined his chance at winning. He went to the clubhouse and waited for the leaders to finish.
“I looked on my phone a little bit. We were actually watching Wimbledon as it was coming down to the end.” said Ralston. “I thought that bogey on 18 probably put me out of it by one or two but as we saw, progressing over time, they were kind of struggling down the stretch.”
Hagestad missed his shot at going wire to wire by shooting a final round 75. The 28-year-old Hagestad broke the course record with his 61 on Thursday. The Newport Beach, California native entered the final round with a five-stroke lead but bogeyed five holes including No. 18. He needed to par the final hole to force a playoff.
Hagestad finished at 18-under in a three way tie for second with Ohio State’s Will Grimmer and University of Arizona’s David Laskin. Georgia Tech’s Noah Norton also shot a final round 63. He finished the tournament tied for eighth place.