Sept. 4, 2007
MOBILE----Auburn senior golfer Steven Groover won the 74th annual Labor Day Invitational Monday with a par on the second playoff hole after firing an 8-under 66-70-69--205 at the Country Club of Mobile.
Groover had to get up and down on the 54th and final hole of regulation from 80 yards to force the playoff. The Birmingham, Ala., native made a five-foot par putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Alabama State Amateur Champion Garrett Osborn, who will turn pro later this month in a PGA Tour Q-School pre-qualifying tournament. Osborn missed a four-footer for par.
"This is my first amateur win, and I am really excited," said Groover. "I played some really good golf over the weekend, and I learned a lot about myself. This is the first time that I finished the job after being close for so many times. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the season."
On the 54th hole of the tournament, Groover and Osborn were tied for the lead, one shot ahead of UAB senior Kyle Sapp, who had made birdie on the hole before. Groover hit his tee shot into the fairway bunker, and his approach shot landed well short of the green. Sapp hit his approach onto the green while Osborn was 20-feet away on the fringe.
Groover then hit his next shot from 80 yards out to within two feet of the hole.
"That was a huge shot," said Groover. "There was a lot of pressure on me and to come up with a shot like that is very rewarding. It wasn"t a pretty par, but I took it."
Osborn and Sapp both missed their birdie putts and settled for par, setting up the two-man playoff on the 10th and 18th holes. Both Groover and Osborn parred the 10th hole before setting up the 18th hole drama. This is the 11th different Labor Day Invitational Championship by nine Auburn golfers since 1982.
Groover and Auburn open the collegiate golf season at the Carpet
Capital Collegiate Sept. 14-16 at the Farm Golf Club in Dalton, Ga.