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Invincible: Covello wins 3-hole playoff at Louisiana Open

Posted at 10:05 PM, Mar 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-25 00:02:58-04

BROUSSARD, Louisiana (Press Release) – After two late bogeys seemingly pushed him out of contention, Vince Covello birdied the final hole in regulation and the third playoff hole to earn his first Web.com Tour title at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS. Covello topped 54-hole leader Justin Lower in the playoff with a birdie after both players made pars on the first two holes. The playoff was contested on the 18th hole (repeating) at Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club after both players ended regulation at 19-under 265.
“It’s unbelievable,” said an emotional Covello. “I wasn’t sure this day would ever come. I feel blessed to be here and lucky that I got it done. It was certainly a crazy finish there at the end. I pulled everything out that I could and it ended up being enough.”

Entering the final hole needing a birdie to tie Lower at 19-under, Covello stuck his ball to one foot away for an easy birdie and entry into a playoff. He then promptly pulled his drive into the water to start the playoff but got up and down from 113 yards for par to match Lower.

“When I was down there [by the water], I knew I wasn’t done yet,” said Covello. “I still had a chance. I still ended up with a clean lie and a good angle into the pin, so somehow I talked myself into believing that I still had a chance. I made that 10-12 footer to extend it, and that was huge.”

All week long Covello relied on his iron play at the par-71 course. He led the field in greens in regulation through three rounds before hitting only 11/18 during the final round. The University of North Florida alum began the day with a bogey at the first before rattling off birdies at Nos. 4, 5 and 7 to make the turn at 2-under. After another birdie at the par-5 12th, Covello bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14, falling three back of Lower. But Lower bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 to open the door and Covello responded with birdies on 16 and 18 to reach the playoff.

“I always felt like I was good enough to win, but you don’t know until you actually do it, until you prove it,” said Covello. “Today I proved it and I’m really proud of that. I’ve had a couple of wins on the mini-tour level, came close in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour, but this is definitely my biggest win to date.”

The 36-year-old has played professional golf for the last 15 years across many different levels and on the Web.com Tour full-time over the last two years. He previously had two career top-10 finishes in 79 career starts.
With the runner-up, Lower posted his best career finish on the Web.com Tour, topping his third-place finish at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open last year. Lower came agonizingly close to earning his PGA TOUR card last year at the Web.com Tour Finals, finishing 26th on the money list after missing a birdie putt at the final hole that would have placed him in the top-25.

“Hats off to Vince, we played the last 36 holes together and it was a lot of fun,” said Lower, who had a putt to win it at 18 in regulation and in the first two playoff holes. “It’s just golf, it’s the way it is. He played well down the stretch and that’s what you need to do. You can lead for 70 holes or however many you want, but if you’re not leading after 72 then it doesn’t matter.”

Veterans Fabián Gómez, Steve Marino and Xinjun Zhang tied for third at 18-under 266.

SUNDAY NOTES:
* Sunday’s weather: Partly cloudy, high of 76, winds S at 12-16 miles per hour with gusts up to 25 miles per hour.
* The playoff lasted three holes and was contested at the par-4 18th hole (repeating). Both players made pars on the first two holes before Covello’s birdie on the third attempt.
* Fabián Gómez, the 2010 champion at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, carded a final-round 9-under 62 to jump up the leaderboard and finish T3. The 62 is the lowest round of the week.
* Fan favorite and three-time PGA TOUR champion Boo Weekley, who played in front of the largest galleries all week, closed with a 6-under 65. A lengthy par save at the last earned Weekley his best finish this season on the Web.com Tour (T10).
* Zach Edmondson (T62, 4-under) and Jacob Bergeron (T71, 1-under) each wrapped up their Web.com Tour debut. Bergeron, who competed at LSU last year as a freshman, turns 21 on Monday.
* With a 68 on Sunday, Xinjun Zhang (T3) has now posted a round in the 60s in eight of his last nine attempts.
* After earning entry through the Monday qualifier, 37-year-old Andre Metzger finished T19. With the top-25 finish, Metzger gained entry into next week’s event in Savannah, Georgia.
* Max Greyserman, a rookie out of Duke University, finished T13, tops among rookies this week. The 23-year-old has now posted top-20 finishes in three out of his last four events, highlighted by a T7 at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.
* Covello becomes the third player this year to win in come-from-behind fashion during the final round. Covello began the round two shots back of Lower. In 2018, 16 out of the 26 champions in 72-hole events came from behind after the third round.
* This week’s purse was $550,000, with $99,000 going to the champion, Vince Covello. Covello also earned 500 points in the Web.com Tour points system.
* Forty-two former Web.com Tour champions competed in the field, amounting to 56 victories, as well as 12 PGA TOUR champions (equaling 30 victories).
* The par-4 13th hole (446 yards), nicknamed “Gator’s Jaw,” ranked as the toughest hole on the course on throughout the week with a scoring average of 4.299. The hole ranked as the fourth-toughest hole on the Web.com Tour last year.
* The par-5 fifth hole (560 yards) ranked as the easiest hole over the course of the week. The hole played to an average of 4.490.
* Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club Scoring Averages:
Front (36)           Back (35)             Total (71)            Cumulative
R1          34.826                  35.528                  70.354
R2          34.903                  34.792                  69.694                  70.024
R3          34.429                  34.623                  69.052                  69.700
R4          34.289                  34.724                  69.013                  69.528