Garber Picks Up First Professional Victory
SOURCE: UGA ATHLETICS
Georgia alum Joey Garber claimed the first victory of his professional career, taking the Web.com Tour’s Rex Hospital Open.
Playing in the final threesome for the first time in his career, Garber posted a final-round 5-under 66 to end the week at 18-under 266, enough to top Hank Lebioda and Scott Langley by one stroke to earn his first professional win.
“To get a win on this Tour is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Garber said. “To come through today, this early in the season, in my first year out here, and in my first time in the final group, it means everything to me. It just proves what I believed in myself. I’m very excited with my game and where we’re headed for the rest of the year.”
Garber, who had an All-America career from 2012-14 for the Bulldogs, carded rounds of 66-65-69-66 at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
“It means everything [to be here after Q-School in December],” he said. “I’d been close in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament a few times and ended up just a couple of shots short twice, so to get through this year was a huge jump for me. I did not want to be doing Monday qualifiers again this year. I’ve done enough of those, so hopefully I’m headed in the right direction. This is huge for me and I’m pumped.”
Garber has made the most of his first season on Tour, entering the week in Raleigh with four top-25s in 12 starts already under his belt, including a pair of eighth-place finishes at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship and the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
The field in Raleigh did not make Garber’s win easy for him, with the leaderboard becoming more and more stacked as the day went on. As the leaders neared the closing stretch, 13 players sat within three of Garber, who had brought a lead into his back nine after turning with a 4-under 32. The St. Simons Island resident had no clue what was going on around him, however, instead choosing to focus solely on his game.
“I never looked at one,” he remarked when asked how leaderboard-watching affected him. “My caddie I’m sure was looking at one, so he knew where we stood. In the fairway of No. 18, I asked him what we needed, and he told me we needed a par so I tried to put it in the middle of the green. It came a little left but ended up in a perfect spot. It was bunched up so I’m glad I didn’t see any leaderboards because I just played my own game, tried to make birdies, and be smart.”
Garber’s maiden victory comes with a $117,000 paycheck, enough to move him from 50th to No. 6 on the regular-season money list and push him one step closer to earning his first PGA Tour card.