Oklahoma State golfer Peter Uihlein wins New Year's Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club

ST. PETERSBURG — Peter Uihlein is only a freshman at Oklahoma State, but he is a veteran when it comes to the New Year's Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club.

This is the third year Uihlein has played the annual amateur tournament, and each time he has been in the hunt after three rounds. This time, he found a way to finish on top.

Uihlein overcame a three-shot deficit Sunday, shooting 4-under-par 68 to finish three shots ahead of Jonathan Randolph and four ahead of third-round leader Mike Barbosa. Brad Schneider of Central Florida and Valrico was fourth.

Uihlein, who spent five years at the IMG golf academy in Bradenton, totaled 10-under 278.

"This is the third time I've had a chance to win this tournament,'' Uihlein, 19, said. "It's obviously a very talented field. It was a little windy out there, so I knew I had to be smart in how I played. You never know what's going to happen when the wind kicks up like it did.''

Uihlein started the day chasing former Georgia Tech standout and St. Petersburg resident Barbosa. Barbosa was 9 under after three rounds and led by three. He birdied the first hole, but double bogey on No. 6, bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, and double bogey on No. 12 doomed him.

Uihlein played steady and was tied with Randolph at 8 under after 11 holes.

Randolph, who attends Mississippi, birdied the 12th hole to take a one-shot lead, but bogey on the 15th dropped him into a tie with Uihlein at 8 under. Uihlein birdied 16 and 17 while Randolph parred. With a two-shot lead heading into the last hole, Uihlein could play it safe.

"The birdie on 16 was big,'' Uihlein said. "That's not a tee shot that really fits my eye. I haven't done very well on that hole, so to get birdie there was big for me.

"And then 17 gave me a two-stroke lead, so that took a little pressure off.''

Uihlein has little time to enjoy the win. He was due back in Stillwater, Okla., on Sunday night and had a 6:30 team workout this morning.

Barbosa, 26, did win the mid-amateur division. His 282 was 13 shots better than second-place Duke Butler. The senior division was settled Saturday. Jim Holbrook shot 226, four ahead of Charlie Hodges.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Anders Hansen birdied the final hole to finish at 15-under 269 and beat Andrew McLardy by one stroke at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He shot 5-under 66 at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club East Course to hold off McLardy, who had 68 and finished second for the second time in three years.

"I played really nice on the front side there, hitting a lot of good shots," said Hansen, who had six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (74), who started the final round one shot behind, had nine bogeys, six on the back nine. But he entertained the crowd with a 240-yard albatross (double eagle) on the par-5 18th.

David Drysdale (69) was third.

Defending champion Richard Sterne (68) finished tied for 12th. Sterne had been trying to win a third consecutive tournament on the European Tour, a feat achieved only by Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.

Oklahoma State golfer Peter Uihlein wins New Year's Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club 01/11/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 12, 2009 7:59am]

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