Tue | Sep 17, 2019

Harmeling holds nerve to win BMW Jamaica Classic

Published:Monday | May 20, 2019 | 12:25 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
American Evan Harmeling poses with his BMW Jamaica Golf Classic trophy after victory at the Cinnamon Hill course in Montego Bay yesterday.
American Evan Harmeling poses with his BMW Jamaica Golf Classic trophy after victory at the Cinnamon Hill course in Montego Bay yesterday.

American Evan Harmeling staved off a fierce late challenge from Argentina’s Augusto Nunez to claim the 2019 PGA Latinoamerica BMW Jamaica Golf Classic at the Cinnamon Hill course in Montego Bay yesterday.

With both players entering the final 18th hole tied at 20 under par, Harmeling found the fairway while Nunez hit his driver in the rough to set up the tense finale.

The Boston native then hit his second approach shot within 15 feet, while Nunez, who had to chip into the fairway, found the green on his third attempt.

Nunez had to sink his seven-foot putt to send the match into a play-off, but the Argentine watched as the ball slid agonisingly past the hole as he closed out his round at three under par for a 20 under 268 total.

Harmeling, who had played cautiously throughout the day, had two putts for the birdie and the win, which he claimed in stunning fashion to the delight of his adoring local fans.

The 30-year-old finished the fourth and final round at one-under par 71 for a 21 under par 267 total.

Harmeling’s bogey on holes eight and his double bogey on hole 14 were not enough to deny the American his first win on the PGA Latinoamerica tour.

“It feels awesome to claim my first win, it was nerve-racking at times, but I held my nerve to pull off this one, and I will take a lot away from this trip to Jamaica and this golf tournament,” he said.

DOWN TO THE WIRE

The seven-year pro says working along with his swing coach helped him a lot coming into this week’s tournament.

“I wasn’t really hitting the ball well, and then I visited my swing coach who gave me some tips and they really paid off this week, as you can see it came down to the wire, and I must say that I love these kinds of tight finishes.”

For his efforts, Harmeling walked away with the winner’s cheque of US$31,500 (just over J$4 million) and the BMW Jamaica Classic trophy.

In the meantime, Argentina’s Leandro Marelli had the best round of the day, his seven under par 75 propelling him up the leader board to the third position following his 19 under par 269 total.

American Tom Whitney, who led on the opening day, finished fourth at 18 under par 270, while Chile’s Nito Pereira rounded out the top five following his 17 under par 271.