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Varner earns first pro golf win
Gastonia native, 23, wins on eGolf Tour
 
Published Tuesday, November 5, 2013 12:07 pm
by Herbert L. White

Harold Varner III  earned his breakthrough win as a professional golfer.

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PHOTO/EGOLF TOUR
Harold Varner of Gastonia won his first professional golf tournament last week at the Lee Westwood Golf School Open last week at Apopka, Fla.

Varner, a Gastonia native who played collegiately at East Carolina, won the inaugural Lee Westwood Golf School Open last week at Apopka, Fla. He shot an eagle and seven birdies in the final round of the eGolf Tour stop for a six-under 64 and the winner’s check for $12,500.

“It feels good. I was giving myself a lot of opportunities this year, so it’s great to finally get one done,” said Varner of his first professional win. “Hopefully I can use what I learned today to help get me where I want to be.”

Varner, 23, entered the final round at Errol Estate Golf & Country Club with a one-shot lead after 36 holes. He birdied four of the first five holes to go to 13-under par, but stumbled on the back nine, going bogey-eagle-bogey-birdie to wind up tied with Christian Brand of Charleston, W.Va., on the 15th. 

“That was a crazy stretch of golf, I don’t know what it was,” Varner said. “I just wanted to make some pars.”

 

I figured if I kept hitting good shots, the law of averages would allow for something good to happen.

Brand, trying to grab the lead for the first time, was overly-aggressive on the par-4 17th, producing a double-bogey that dropped him to 12 under. He birdied the par-4 finale for a 13-under 197, one stroke short of Varner, who birdied the 18th to clinch a two-shot win. 

“I knew that he made a move on the back nine, but I also knew I had to stay patient,” Varner said. “You have to do whatever it takes to give yourself the most looks.”

Varner is a step closer to moving up the professional ladder at the Web.com Tour for one year - when he heads to the second stage of Q-School in three weeks at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Fla.

Varner, who competed in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, is fourth on the tour money list and posted nine top-10 finishes in his last 14 starts with three second-place finishes.

Varner, an alumnus of The First Tee program, won the North Carolina Amateur in 2011, becoming the first African-American to win the title. He also won the North Carolina Amateur Match Play championship to become the first player to earn both titles in the same year.

 

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