Greer, SC – Nick Flanagan received a big stroke of luck to get into a playoff Sunday at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, but luck had nothing to do with the swing that propelled him to the victory.
Flanagan nearly holed a bunker shot on the third playoff hole, which he parred to defeat Cameron Percy and earn his fourth Nationwide Tour win.
It was also Flanagan's first victory since 2007, when he won three events -- including this one.
"It's just amazing to be back in contention, to be honest with you," Flanagan said during a television interview. "A win was not something that I saw anytime soon. It's been a rough few years, and I didn't know whether I'd ever get back here."
But Flanagan wouldn't have been in position to win without a fortunate bounce on the 72nd hole of regulation, where he drilled his approach over the green. The ball hit a video camera and bounced back onto the green, nearly rolling into the hole in the process.
He rolled in the birdie to reach 15-under par 271 and tie Percy, who had bogeyed the hole one group earlier to reduce his lead to one stroke.
The two Australians returned to the par-four 18th, which had been playing tough all week at Thornblade Club, for a playoff. But neither could come through with a key shot the first two times they played it -- both bogeyed the hole on the first try, then managed to sink their par putts on the second.
Percy found the woods with his tee shot the third time around, while Flanagan hit his second into a bunker.
But while Percy had a tough time getting to the pin -- he chipped his second shot out of the trees and into the rough beside the fairway, then hit an iron past the green -- Flanagan came through with a crucial shot.
He blasted out of a bunker to within two feet, and after Percy carded a six, Flanagan ran home the short par putt to secure the victory in just his second Nationwide start of the season.
The putt ended a tumultuous day for Flanagan, who shot a four-under 67 for his final round, but carded seven birdies and three bogeys.
Percy, who led the tournament after two rounds, was denied his first Nationwide victory because of extremely ill-timed mistakes. Prior to the 18th hole of regulation, he hadn't recorded a bogey and used six birdies to climb the leaderboard.
He drained long birdie efforts at 15 and 17 to get to minus-16, but wasn't able to close out the victory at the last.
Percy's tee shot landed on a slope of rough, and his second found a bunker. He had a decent look at a par save, but the putt stopped inches short of the cup and he tapped in for bogey to finish a five-under 66.
The end of the final round came down to Percy and Flanagan only after Darron Stiles (66) gave up the lead.
He had reached minus-15 thanks to a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round. Stiles started with an eagle at the fifth, then birdied four of the next six holes.
He carried that score into the final hole, where he lined up a birdie putt that he struck too hard. The ball rolled well past the cup, and he couldn't make his par putt.
The bogey dropped him back to 14-under 272, and he ended up sharing third with Robert Streb (68).
Sam Saunders (67), Aaron Watkins (67) and third-round co-leader Brad Fritsch (70) tied for fifth at minus-13.
NOTES: Flanagan's only other Nationwide start this year came in March at the Chile Classic, where he missed the cut. He also played in the PGA's Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month, but didn't make the cut there, either...Fritsch's third-round co-leader, Steve LeBrun, struggled to a three- over 74 and finished in a tie for 22nd at nine-under.