The 11th hole at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club’s Ocean Course is tough enough at 443 yards.
But it wasn’t the long distance or windy conditions that determined the outcome of Tuesday’s final round of the Gate Petroleum Invitational.
It was a two-foot putt.
Colin Monagle stood in disbelief when he watched Mark Spencer not only miss the two-footer, but the one-foot tap-in that followed.
Monagle’s one-stroke lead suddenly became a comfortable cushion that carried the senior at Jacksonville University to the overall championship.
“I was dumbfounded,” Monagle said. “I really thought we were going to battle it out. I was looking forward to it.”
Monagle’s final round of even-par 72 was good enough for a three-stroke victory. It also gave amateurs seven of the last 10 wins at the Gate.
“This really gives me a lot of confidence with the school season coming up,” Monagle said after he finished at 6-under-par 208. “I start school on Monday and I have my first tournament after I take the next two weeks off.”
Spencer started the round tied with Monagle at 6-under, but the double-bogey at 11 helped send him to a 3-over 75.
“I just birdied the 10th hole to get within one and I thought, ‘Here we go.’ Then I three-putted from two feet. I had a brain cramp.”
The match also swung in Monagle’s favor when he made a tough up-and-down from the back of the 11th green.
A 70-foot put to within a foot at 14 also was key in the victory.
“We both were playing so solid up to that point,” Monagle said. “Everything changed at 11.”
Amateur Dillon Board fired a final-round 72 to finish third at 1-over 215, while Mathew Salane was next at 216 and B.K. Choi was fifth at 217.
Bruce Mohler became the first host professional to win among the pros. He shot the best round of the day, a 3-under 69, for a three-day total of 219 to finish one stroke ahead of Clint Avret.
Mohler earned $5,000.
John Duckworth and Gerry James were tied for third at 221 among the pros.
Spencer finished with a six-foot birdie at 17 and a nine-foot birdie at 18. But Monagle didn’t make any mistakes down the stretch.
Monagle hit a three-wood at the 359-yard 18th hole. His ball hit the cart path and wound up 42 yards from the pin. Instead of protecting his lead and flipping a wedge to the middle of the green, he took an aggressive approach by going over a bunker to the pin. He hit it 12 feet away and easily two-putted.
“I thought about going to the right, but it was easier to go toward the pin,” Monagle said. “It’s an easy shot when you have confidence.”