Michael Putnam Falls in Third Playoff Hole to Finish Second at NCAA Championships
June 4, 2005
Owings Mills, MD - Senior All-American Michael Putnam lost in a three-hole playoff to Washington junior James Lepp to finish second at the NCAA Men's Division I Golf Championships that concluded Saturday at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Putnam missed a 6-foot put for par on the 18th hole while Lepp sank a two-foot par put to cap a great round and claim the individual championship. Both players made par on the 18th and ninth to go to a third playoff hole.
Putnam, who carded a 1-under 69 on Saturday, entered the day with a one-shot lead over Georgia Tech's Roberto Castro and Major Manning of Augusta State at 3-under 207.
The Waves' senior played his first nine holes at even par after birdying the par-4 second hole and posting a bogey-6 on the par-5 seventh hole. He started his back nine even-par through three holes before registering birdies on the par-5 13th and par-4 14th to move to 2-under on the round, 5-under for the tournament and take a one-shot lead over Lepp.
However, Putnam bogeyed the par-4 16th hole to drop into a tie for the lead before paring the 17th and 18th. He headed to the 18th hole with an opportunity win the tournament in regulation with a birdie.
His approach shot to the green came up 10 yards short of the green and, after leaving his chip shot 12-feet short, made the par-saving put to force a playoff.
Lepp, who entered Saturday's round tied for eighth, six-shot backs, played himself into contention after shooting a 7-under 63 on Saturday, including 5-under on his back nine. The Washington junior, who started his round on hole 10, played the front nine in two under and started the back nine by birdying holes 1-3, all par 4s.
After a bogey on the 17th, Lepp birdied the 18th to move to 4-under and finish 72 holes at 4-under 276.
Putnam was the only player in the field to shoot three rounds in the 60s, posting back-to-back 3-under 67s in the first round before carding a 3-over 73 in the rain on Friday.
The playoff capped a brilliant career for Putnam, who concluded his career with the lowest stroke average in Pepperdine history and concluded his senior by being named the recipient of the 2005 Byron Nelson Award.