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Jimmy Jones wins New Year's Invitational in four-way playoff

ST. PETERSBURG — Jimmy Jones figured if he hung around the leaders in the final round of the New Year's Invitational, something good might eventually happen.

It took two extra holes, but Jones turned out to be right.

After shooting 2-under 70 in Sunday's final round, Jones finished at 9-under 279. Jimmy Stanger, Andrew McCain and Joey Lane also finished 9 under, forcing the first four-way playoff in the tournament's 90-year history.

All four players parred the par-4 first hole. On the par-5 second, Jones drained a 6-foot birdie to win the championship at St. Petersburg Country Club.

"I was hovering around the lead all day," said Jones, who attended Freedom High and is a sophomore at Florida Southern. "It was a pretty consistent round. Overall, it was a good day."

Jones started the day four shots behind third-round leader Joe Alfieri. He parred his first eight holes before a birdie on the ninth.

He bogeyed the 10th but came back with birdies on the 12th and 15th to get to 9 under on the par-72 course.

In the playoff, Jones was not in the best position on the second extra hole after an errant drive. He was under an oak tree with his ball nestled next to a root. Lane and McCain had hit their second shots just short of the green.

Jones hit his second shot cleanly, landing it just yards short of the green.

"Seeing the other guys get it up there close I just told myself that I've got to go for it," Jones said. "It was all or nothing. You just hope it comes out clean and you don't hit any tree roots."

Stanger, who attended Gaither High, was in trouble on the second hole when his second shot hit a tree. He eventually bogeyed. Lane and McCain missed their birdie putts, which set up Jones for the winning putt.

"I just wanted to put a good stroke on it," Jones said. "I'd made a million of those putts before."

Alfieri, 46, had a two-shot lead over Stanger at 11 under when the final round started. But he shot 3-over 75 and finished the tournament at 8 under.

He did win the Mid-Amateur Division.

The Senior Division ended after Saturday's third round. Dennis Monahan defended his title with 220, five shots ahead of Mike Barkley.

Jimmy Jones wins New Year's Invitational in four-way playoff 01/10/16 [Last modified: Sunday, January 10, 2016 7:58pm]
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