Former Western Carolina golfer J.T. Poston shot 8-under par in Sunday’s final round to win the Wyndham Championship played at Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club.
Poston finished the event with a 22-under par 258.
Overcoming a three-stroke deficit at the beginning of the day, Poston was nearly flawless in matching his career-low round of 62 to secure his first career PGA victory in his 51st tournament. He edged fellow North Carolinian Webb Simpson by a stroke and South Korean Byeong Hun An – who just missed a would-be tournament-tying birdie putt on the 18th – by two strokes.
Poston became the first player since Lee Trevino in 1974 in New Orleans to win a 72-hole stroke-play event on tour without carding a bogey or worse.
With a partisan crowd looking on, Poston surged atop the leaderboard and took sole possession of first place with a birdie on the No. 15 hole after chipping to within 6 feet of the cup out of a green-side bunker.
After finishing his round, Poston had to wait for the final pairing to come through before being able to celebrate the victory.
“To do it here in North Carolina an hour-and-a-half from where I grew up (Hickory) is something I couldn’t have imagined,” Poston said on CBS television following the win.
After receiving the trophy – the Sam Snead Cup – Poston added, “I’d like to thank the Western Carolina fans who came out. You guys really helped me along.”
During interviews with media following the trophy ceremony, Poston was again asked how the home state and Western Carolina impact from the gallery affected him over the course of the tournament.
“I’ve got so many friends and family that are here, coming in from all over the place,” Poston said. “Some came in last night, some came in this morning. The celebration’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of Hickory cheers and a lot of Western Carolina cheers out there. I definitely heard them all day, so I can’t wait to celebrate with them,”
Poston became the fifth North Carolina native to win the tournament, which started 80 years ago as the Greater Greensboro Open. He follows Raymond Floyd, Scott Hoch, Davis Love and Simpson.
Recruited to Western by former coaches Gorham Bradley and Carter Cheves, Poston claimed six individual medalist honors during his playing career in Cullowhee, twice winning the Southern Conference championship. Under the tutelage of Coach Bryant Odom in 2015, he advanced to the NCAA Championship field out of the Chapel Hill Regional by winning on the second hole of a playoff.
“Western Carolina golf just took a huge step,” said Coach Tim Eckberg, who was in the gallery on Sunday along with former coaches Bradley and Odom and around a dozen former Catamount golfers. “To be here for it, following J.T. around with so many alums of WCU and WCU golf, I’m speechless. We all believed this was coming – he’s just so good. But to do it here in North Carolina with all of these people around him, I’m just so proud of what he accomplished.”
Eckberg added, “This is great for our program in so many ways, but he is such a class act and I couldn’t be prouder of him and what this does for him. Our team is going to come in this fall more fired up than ever before.”
Poston started the week 83rd in the PGA Tour’s season-long points race, assured of going to the playoffs. But now he’ll head to The Northern Trust at No. 27, with a Tour Championship berth very much in play and with his first-ever Masters invite for next spring already secured.