PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — David Mathis closed with a 1-under 69 on Sunday to win the Jacksonville Open on the Nationwide Tour, earning more than enough money to secure his return to the PGA Tour next year.
Mathis started the tournament at No. 35 on the money list, and the $108,000 for winning moved him up to No. 12. The top 25 earn PGA Tour cards, and the only tournament remaining is the Nationwide Tour Championship next week.
He finished at 8-under 272 for a one-shot victory over Won Joon Lee, Jeff Curl and Kyle Reifers. Curl was at No. 81 on the money list, and his runner-up finish moved him to No. 54, putting him into the 60-man field next week in the Tour Championship.
Mathis rallied from a three-shot deficit on the Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass, then struggled once he got out in front. He led by as many as three shots, but his lead was only one shot after his double bogey on the par-5 16th. Mathis hit a delicate chip-and-run to tap-in range from short of the 17th green for par, then made par on the final hole to close out his second career Nationwide win.
“I was actually very comfortable on the front nine, but that’s because I was chasing,” Mathis said. “I was happy to have that 150-yard walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee box. I beat myself up pretty good, but refocused for the last two holes.”
Jon Mills, who had the 54-hole lead, shot 74 and tied for fifth.
Jeff Brehaut bogeyed the last two holes, but still managed to secure the 60th spot on the money list to get into the Tour Championship.
It was the first time all year on the Nationwide Tour that the winning score was in single digits under par, although the tour changed the Valley Course from a par 72 to a par 70 for the Jacksonville Open.