Former USC golfer Mark Anderson speeds off with first pro win

He posts tournament record to earn victory

05/20/2013 1:29 AM

08/17/2013 10:16 PM

Three of the previous four BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournaments ended with a playoff.

Sunday’s ended only with a payoff.

Mark Anderson strolled off the course at Thornblade Club toting a $117,000 check, a new watch and a new outlook after notching his first victory as a professional in the Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am.

“Without a doubt, this is the highlight of my career,” Anderson said.

Anderson, a former University of South Carolina golfer from Beaufort, capped a record-breaking four-day performance with a 6-under par 65 at Thornblade, providing a comfortable five-stroke victory over runner-up Tom Hoge of Fargo, N.D.

With his mother, Julia Anderson, and grandfather, Michael Adams, watching eagerly from the edge of the 18th green, Anderson tapped in an easy par putt to cap a remarkable four-day performance that saw him make 28 birdies and two eagles against five bogeys.

He opened with a 63 at The Reserve at Lake Keowee on Thursday, added a 67 at Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer course on Friday to move into second place, then assumed the lead for the first time with a 64 on Saturday at Thornblade.

Anderson extended his advantage with seven birdies on Sunday.

“I made a bunch of birdies, and that made it pretty easy,” Anderson said. “After I shot 63 (on Thursday) I knew I’d hit it great, really solid, and had nothing to worry about. I just continued that momentum throughout the weekend.”

Anderson’s final scorecard matched his age — the 27-year-old finished with a tournament-record 27-under par total, besting the previous record by four strokes.

His payday leapfrogged him from 133rd on the circuit’s money list to ninth and positioned him for a strong run at regaining a PGA Tour card.

Not bad for a player who had alternately made, then missed, the cut in each of his past six Tour events this season.

“It definitely helps because I had a really slow start to the year and I haven’t done a whole lot of good things lately,” he said. “I hope it’s a stepping stone to more great things this year.”

Anderson became the second USC golfer to win the BMW title, following the late Michael Christie in 1996.

“I’ve had some good finishes out there, but there’s nothing that replaces winning,” said Anderson, the 2009 South Carolina Golf Association Amateur champion. “The feeling I have now and when I tapped in for par on the last hole to win is something I’ve never experienced, but hope to experience again.”

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