Hudson Swafford (Photo by Welch Suggs)
ATHENS, Ga. --- Another year, another win for a Georgia golfer in the Nationwide Tour's Stadion Classic.
One year after amateur Russell Henley won the event, Nationwide rookie Hudson Swafford kept the Stadion Classic trophy in the Bulldog family as he posted a 1-shot victory on Sunday at the UGA Golf Course.
"This is unbelievable. My first win is huge and to be in Athens, words don't describe it," said Swafford. "I couldn't have drawn it up any better. The way it happened is a dream come true."
Swafford used a course-record 9-under 62 on Sunday to finish at 17-under 267 (the lowest total since the Athens stop moved to the UGA Golf Course). He held off fellow SEC alum Luke List (Vanderbilt) and two-time U.S. Open champ Lee Janzen for the win.
Swafford entered the final round five shots out of first and fell further back with a bogey on his first hole Sunday. But the Tallahassee, Fla., native responded with four birdies on the front nine and six more on the back nine. His 30 on the back nine was punctuated by birdies on Nos. 16-18, including a chip-in from a greenside bunker on the final hole. Said Swafford, "I wasn't expecting it, but I was pretty fired up when I saw it had disappeared."
The Stadion Classic was just the seventh tournament on the Nationwide Tour for Swafford. He had back-to-back top-20 finishes coming into Athens and he had made more than $23,000. Swafford collected a $99,000 first-prize check on Sunday, going to seventh from 61st on the money list.
"This is just a starting point. This is no time to get comfortable," he said. "I'm still a long way from where I need to be. I'm another win away from getting anything done."
"I could not be prouder of Hudson," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "He has put in the work, and it's great to see him rewarded this way. It's been a really nice run lately for the Bulldogs out on the professional tours, and it's great that Hudson can keep that going for us."
Ex-Bulldogs Justin Bolli and Paul Claxton, who were paired together for the final round, each wound up seventh at 12-under 272 after signing for 4-under 67s on Sunday.