Blake Adams wins the EGOLF Tarheel Tour Columbia Open

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Nationwide Tour player Blake Adams birdied the par-4 18th at Columbia Country Club on Thursday and won the EGOLF Tarheel Tour’s Columbia Open by one shot over Scott Usher and Cory Kaufman.

The Eatonton, GA native entered the final round three off the pace set by overnight leader Kaufman and trailed for much of the day despite going out in 3-under 33 and reaching 12-under for the tournament. Kaufman maintained his lead through nine holes with a 1-under 35 on Columbia Country Club’s arduous outward nine, which in turn left him at 13-under-par for the tournament with nine holes left to play. While Adams only trailed Kaufman by one shot, he was not alone. 2008 Bermuda Run Open champion Kevin Kisner, who played in the day’s final pairing with Kaufman, birdied two of his first three holes and turned at 2-under 34 and 12-under for the tournament. The early move of the day, however, came from Usher, who played in the group ahead of Adams and lit up the front nine with a 32 that left him one shot behind Kaufman.

Through 13 holes, Adams still trailed Kaufman by one shot after twice exchanging birdies. Usher, who had fallen two back, made a furious rally with birdies on 14 and 15 and a near hole-in-one on the par-3 17th, which he would convert to birdie. A bogey at the par-4 16th dropped Kaufman into a tie for the lead for the first time all day

Usher parred the final hole to post 15-under-par, but Adams rolled in a birdie on the final hole to post 16-under, eliminate Usher, and leave it up to Kaufman to make birdie to force a playoff. After Kaufman made a seven-foot par putt on 17, he hit his drive in the left bunker on 18, which sealed his fate. Unable to reach the green with his second shot, he hit a mediocre pitch shot over the greenside bunker that never threatened the hole and clinched the title for Adams. Kaufman did hole the ensuing 15-foot par putt to share second with Usher. Each player collected $10,650 for his effort.

For Adams, the win earned him $22,000 and a valuable 2,000 points in the S&K Fall Finale Series. The win gives him a two-event total of 2,120 points, which puts him second on the points list, trailing only David Robinson, who sits in first place with 2,278.33 points.

Adams is currently 92nd on the Nationwide Tour money list, and plans to try to Monday qualify for the next three events, hoping to earn enough money to guarantee his position in the top 100 on the money list, which would at least give him conditional status for 2009.

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