Lynn Haven, FL---The Sherman Invitational has built an incredible history in 87 years of continuous competition, making it the longest running amateur golf tournament in the southeast. It's seen champions both go pro, while some have returned to reclaim multiple titles.
Sunday marked the third and final round, as two former winners, Matt Johnson and Mike Riley were after the crown once again in the leaders group, while Rob Maddox was trying to win for the first time in his career.
Playing in front of all of the Panama City Club watching the action unfold in nearly every golf cart the club had to offer, the final three had the masses tuned in to their final strokes as the round approached completion.
Entering the day, Johnson held a one stroke lead at one-under par, while both Riley and Maddox were set at even par.
As the three walked up the 18th hole, Johnson and Riley were tied at two-over, while the lefty Maddox sat one behind at three-over.
Maddox's birdie putt on the par-five 18th missed the cup by inches, as both Johnson, a two-time winner, and Riley, a five-time champ, parred, meaning the championship would be decided in a playoff.
Restarting play on the par-four first, Johnson and Riley both ended up with bogey, meaning they would advance on to the par-four second to continue the action.
After each hit strong tee shots, Johnson was determined to put an end to the playoff, after missing out on opportunities to win earlier.
""From having a putt on 18 and one that I missed to win, I just wanted to get it close and get it over with," said the Dothan resident.
Johnson's approach landed within 10 feet of the pin, giving him a birdie chance for the tournament title.
Riley's second shot went into a bunker on the right front side of the green. His chip from the sand fell short of the hole, as Johnson went on to knock his birdie putt in and take home his third ever Sherman Invitational Title.
Afterwards, Johnson realized it took a lot out of him to play his best over three days and 56 holes in order to come out on top.
"When I go back to work tomorrow, I'm gonna be fully exhausted," said Johnson, who's now won in 2008, 2011, and 2014. "It was fun. I was competing with two of my really good friends, Mike Riley and Rob Maddox. Probably had a 100, 150 people out there watching us today, and it was a blast. This is what it's all about for any of the amateur players like ourselves."
The following takes place in the early highlights attached above, Mike Riley's tied for second after 36 holes, approach shot on the par 4 lands on the green.
He has a birdie opportunity, but it just doesn't fall towards the cup enough. He'd par.
Rob Maddox, also tied for second, out from the sand, puts it five feet from the hole.
Everyone in the group par's one and we're off to two.
That's where the leader Johnson is looking to earn a birdie chance, puts this one on the putting surface, but he'd miss.
Maddox would take advantage of his opportunity though. From about 18 feet out, he gets the putt to drop to move to one under for the tournament and tie for the lead.
In the later highlights attached above as well, Maddox is trailing the other two by one on 18, misses a put for a three way playoff, finishing at three over.
Matt Johnson and Mike Riley looking for titles three and six respectively, enter a playoff. Whoever shoots the lowest score on the first hole wins. In case of a tie, they'll move to another hole until a winner is decided.
Riley's third shot, his approach, lands fifteen feet from the cup, but he'd two-put and bogey.
Johnson missed a put on 18 to win and misses in the first playoff too, also bogeying, so we're headed to a second hole.
Johnson's second shot lands within 10 feet of the pin, leading to his tournament winning birdie putt as he takes his third ever Sherman Invitational Title.