Coles hangs on for fifth tour win
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Gavin Coles shot just a one-over 71 on Sunday, but it was enough to give him a one-stroke victory at the Jacksonville Open.
Coles finished at six-under-par 274, good for his fifth Nationwide Tour title.
Jonas Blixt briefly grabbed the lead from Coles in the final round, but was done in by bogeys at 10 and 11, and a double-bogey on the 13th.
Blixt also closed with a 71 on the Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass to end alone in second at minus-five.
David Lingmerth was one of 12 players to break par in the final round. He posted a one-under 69 to grab third place at four-under-par 276. Danny Lee (68) and Tommy Biershenk (69) shared fourth at minus-three.
Brian Stuard stumbled to a three-over 73 and took sixth at two-under-par 278. Those six were the only ones to finish under par for the week.
"The golf course played hard. The greens were fast and you had to hit it in the right spots to make birdies," Coles explained. "It was a tough test, and having said that, I don't feel like I played all that well in terms of hitting it close."
This was the final full-field event of the year. The top 60 on the money list will play the Nationwide Tour Championship next week. Just two players -- Lingmerth and John Kimbell -- moved into the top 60.
Charles Warren and Andrew Buckle were the unlucky players that got knocked out of next week's field. They both missed the cut this week.
Coles and Blixt were in the final group together and were the only two that had the lead on Sunday.
The duo both parred the first three holes. Coles tripped to a bogey on the fourth to slip into a tie for the lead. They remained tied until the ninth.
Blixt grabbed the lead with a birdie on No. 9. However, he fell one back after making bogey at 10 and 11. Blixt reclaimed a piece of the lead with a birdie on the par-four 12th.
The Swede did himself in with a double-bogey on the 13th to fall two back.
Coles ended a run of 10 consecutive pars with a bogey on the 15th. He slipped to minus-five, but was still one ahead.
The 43-year-old Australian bounced right back with a birdie on 16. Coles drained a 30-footer for birdie at 17. He closed with a bogey at the last, but it was enough for the win.
"It's funny, I didn't think I could leave that putt on No. 17 short, and I'd been leaving putts short all day," Coles stated. "I just picked my line, hit it out there and it went in."
Blixt birdied the 16th to move to minus-five, but parred the final two holes to end one back.
"It's good to be there on Sunday and get the experience of being under pressure," Blixt said. "It's time for me to win and pull one of these out."
NOTES: Coles earned $108,000 for the win...B.J. Staten fired a six-under 64 to match the low round of the week. He improved from a tie for 54th into a share of 18th...The top 25 on the money list after next week's event, will earn their PGA Tour card for 2012...Next week is the Nationwide Tour Championship, where Brendan Steele won last year.
10/23 20:01:30 ET