Making history isn’t supposed to be easy.
Dominic Bozzelli’s drive to establish himself as one of the best golfers in National Golf Association history was about as difficult as it gets.
Bozzelli birdied his final three holes on Sunday to finish with a four-day total of 269, 19-under-par, to win the Lake County Classic at Harbor Hills County Club by two shots over Jack Newman. With the win, he is only the second golfer in NGA history to win three straight tournaments. Zach Johnson, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour and the 2007 Masters champion, was the first to do so, having won three straight in 2001.
Bozzelli had to battle through the pack for the win under sunny skies over the nearly 7,000-yard par 72 layout. Unable to finish his third round on Saturday due to inclement weather, Bozzelli was forced to complete it on Sunday and then immediately begin his final loop. He responded to the challenge of a golfing marathon by carding a 5-under-par 67 in his third round for a two -shot lead over Newman at 15-under. He backed that up with a 4 -under 68 in his fourth round to secure the win.
Bozzelli and Newman battled for the lead throughout the final round, with each player owning it on multiple occasions. Both players were tied at 17 under after exchanging birdies on the par-3 16th hole, the longest par 3 on the course at 210 yards and one that involved a carry over water to an undulating green.
On the 17th, a 400-yard par 4, Bozzelli set himself up for a makeable putt that would put him in the driver’s seat heading to the final hole. The Pittsford, N.Y., golfer drained the putt and took a one -shot lead to the 18th. Newman was able to look down the fairway and watch Bozzelli’s nearly flawless play down the stretch.
On the 18th, a 579-yard finishing hole that was set up for scoring, Bozzelli worked his way down the fairway and drained an insurance birdie, forcing Newman to make an eagle to take the tournament to sudden death.
Newman put himself in position for an eagle from the fairway with his third shot, but missed left, giving Bozzelli a shared entry with Johnson in the NGA Pro Tour history books. He will have chance to win an unprecedented four straight tournaments beginning Thursday at the Ocala/Marion County NGA Pro Golf tour at Ocala National.
In his final round, Bozzelli finished with six birdies and two bogeys. The three birdies he had on his final three holes of the tournament were, ironically, the only time he put together three red numbers in succession.
For the tournament, Bozzelli carded 20 birdies, three eagles and seven bogeys. He played par-3 holes to average score of 2.79 and par 4s to 3.93. On the par 5s, however, Bozzelli averaged nearly a full stroke below par at 4.19. He had seven birdies, three eagles and five pars on the four par 5 holes on the course. He did not have bogey on a par 5.
Bozzelli earned $16,000 for the win, giving him $52,700 for the year and an exemption in the Web.com Tour Price Cutter Charity Championship in August in Springfield, Mo.
Newman won $8,000 for finishing second to raise his season total to $12,200. Bozzelli extended his lead over Crawford Reeves, No. 2 on the money list by more than $30,000.
Brian Richey finished third at 272 after a final round 66, the low round of the day. David Skinns was 274, good for a fourth place tie with Phillip Mollica. Skinns and Mollica began the final round in a three way tie with Newman for second place.
Phillip Hutchinson, the first- and second- round leader, struggled to 76 in his final round.
Formerly known as the Hooters Tour, the NGA Tour is the No. 3-men’s professional tour in the U.S. after the PGA and Web.com Tours, and has proven to be the top developmental tour by PGA and Web.com Tour Professionals. The NGA Tour has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their cards PGA TOUR, European, Web.com, and Champions Tour.
NGA Tour alumni include: Johnson, Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion Jim Furyk, the 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year and 2003 U.S. Open champion Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA championship winner 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel, 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis and two time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen.
Founded in 1988, the NGA Tour predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2013, the NGA Tour was awarded five Web.com Tour event exemptions and two PGA Tour event exemptions — Reno Tahoe Open and the Sanderson Farms Championship — the most of any tour in the history of developmental golf.