Ted Potter Jr. won his first U.S. PGA Tour title at The Greenbrier Classic, where U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson blew a final-round lead and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both missed weekend play as professionals in a tournament for the first time.
Potter made a four-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole yesterday at the Old White TPC Course in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to beat Troy Kelly in a playoff between the 218th and 464th ranked golfers in the world.
Potter, 28, received $1.1 million for the victory, which came after he missed the cut for weekend play in nine of his 15 previous PGA Tour events this year, including five straight.
In the span of a few days in West Virginia, Ted Potter Jr.’s summer went from missed cuts to memorable. Coming off five straight tournaments in which he failed to advance to weekend play, the PGA Tour rookie won the Greenbrier Classic in a three-hole playoff over Troy Kelly on Sunday.
And now Potter can start planning. There’s a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. A trip to this month’s British Open and next year’s Masters. And likely plans for the tour playoffs after he went from 173rd to 51st on the FedEx Cup list.
In brief, he was born in 1983 in Ocala, Florida; lives in Silver Springs, Florida; and turned pro in 2002. He is a left-handed golfer, but is naturally right-handed. Potter is unique in that he qualified for the PGA Tour despite never having a professional golf lesson by a golf teaching professional.
He began to play golf at a very early age. His father made him a custom set of clubs as soon as he could grip a golf club. His father, Ted Potter, Sr. who is a golf course maintenance professional and low-handicap golfer, was his chief instructor of the game. Ted Potter, Jr. would go on to dominate Florida youth golfing tours. His success continued through his high school career. He graduated, class of 2002, from Lake Weir High School in southeastern Marion County, Florida and chose to turn pro instead of attending college.
Potter turned pro at the age of 19 where he first competed on the Central Florida based Moonlight Tour. In December 2003, he competed for a spot in the PGA tour via the 2003 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He finished tied for 74th place and earned a spot on the 2004 Nationwide Tour (former name of the Web.com Tour), where he did not make a single cut during the season. He again competed on the Nationwide Tour (Web.com Tour) during the 2007 and 2010 seasons. He made his first cut on the Nationwide Tour at the 2007 Movistar Panama Championship where he finished tied for 12th place. Potter was the 2006 and 2009 NGA Hooters Tour Player of the Year. He has a total of seven wins on the Tour and is currently tied for third place all-time in wins. His career winnings on the NGA tour are $595,490.72.
2011 was Potter’s breakout season on the Web.com Tour. He started the season on the NGA Tour. However, Potter won the South Georgia Classic on the Web.com Tour, the first time a Monday qualifier won on the tour since 2006. He was only the fifth left-handed golfer to win an event on the tour and the first since 2008. The win earned Potter $112,500 and full Web.com tour status for 2011. Potter earned his second win of the season at the Soboba Golf Classic in a three-hole playoff. Potter finished in the top 25 (2nd place overall) in earnings on the tour in 2011 and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season.