Veteran professional golfer Tim O’Neal calmly dropped a 15-foot birdie on the 18th hole to win the APGA Tour title at the PGA Golf Club in one stroke on Sunday, earning his second victory of the season and taking first place in Lexus Cup points standings. O’Neal’s nine under 135s edged a strong performance of eight under 136s by Michael Bradham of Converse, Texas
O’Neal, 49, a native of Savannah, Georgia, triumphed in the APGA Tour regular season opener at TPC Harding Park in February and lost in the playoffs at the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Invitational in January. In addition to APGA Tour competition and US Open qualifying, O’Neal will play as an exempt sponsor in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Simmons Bank Open May 5-8 in Tennessee.
He turns 50 on August 3 and hopes to be invited as an exempt sponsor to play on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour before the end of the year.
“With the putt on 18 today, I thought the odds would be in my favor because I was missing putts throughout the day,” said O’Neal, who competed in the first-ever event of the APGA Tour in 2010. “I shot a clean 66 yesterday, but it was bumpy today. So, I’m not where I want to be yet, but things are going in the right direction. I’m just trying to improve myself every day.
After a first-lap 66, O’Neal was tied for the lead with Seth Arthur of Metropolis, Illinois going into Sunday’s final lap. He posted a one-under front nine with four birdies but couldn’t retire due to a double bogey 5 on the sixth hole. He recorded a birdie on the 10th then seven consecutive pars until the winning putt on the 18th.
Bradham was in contention throughout the first day with a 69 followed by a 67 to take the club lead to eight under 136. His eagle on the 514-yard par-five fifth hole was the highlight of the first nine and he posted back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th. A bogey on the 17th opened the door for O’Neal’s game-winning shot on the final hole.
In third place was Marcus Byrd of Knoxville, Tennessee, with a 67-70-137. Byrd had just made his first PGA Tour start as a bye during last week’s Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic. Kevin Hall, the former Big Ten collegiate champion and longtime APGA Tour star, finished fourth at 69-69-138. APGA Tour standout Kamaiu Johnson of Orlando, Fla., finished fifth at five under 139. Hall and Byrd both scored eagles on the 17th hole on Saturday and Johnson hit the seventh hole on Sunday.
With his second regular season win, O’Neal increased his lead in the Lexus Cup points standings, which he won in 2020 as APGA Tour Player of the Year. He won $7,500 of the $25,000 purse.
The PGA Golf Club, owned by the PGA of America, hosted the APGA Tour on the prestigious 6,647-yard, par-72 Dye Course for the second consecutive year.
The APGA Tour is back in action April 11-12 with the APGA Tour at TPC Las Vegas in Nevada.
The APGA Tour was established in 2010 with a mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf by organizing and hosting professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentorship programs and introducing the game to young people in the city centre. The tour has grown from seven events with $200,000 in prize money in 2020 and 14 events with over $400,000 in prize money in 2021, and now 18 events with over $700,000 in prize money in 2022.