Kaylor Steger beat an approaching storm and recorded his second professional victory Monday in Sarasota, Fla., by winning a sudden-death playoff on the fifth extra hole.
But the Sturtevant golfer would never have emerged from the West Florida Golf Tour's Winter Season Tour Championship with the $2,000 winner's check had he not done what he did on the first extra hole of the four-player shootout.
"I hit the worst of the four shots into the green (and) I was about 25 feet from the hole," Steger wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.Golf. "And one of the guys, and my good friend, Mike Visacki, has a 4-footer for birdie straight up the hill. (I) knew I needed to make it, (so I) took a deep breath, stepped over the ball and just let it flow. I knew it was in the second I hit it."
That proved to be the defining moment of a playoff made possible by his 6-under-par 66 that left him tied atop the leaderboard with Visacki, the WFGT's career money-winner; Mike Andre, and James Leadbetter. For Steger, the 2014 WIAA Division 1 state champion at Oak Creek, his victory marked just the sixth time in 21 of the one-day events this winter he cashed a check.
"It means a lot to me, especially after struggling in the spring trying to come back from a wrist injury," wrote Steger, 24, whose only other professional victory came last April in a Heritage Oak Series Tournament, also in Sarasota, where — as he did Monday — he also made seven birdies and one bogey.
"It should help give me a lot of confidence moving forward."
Steger was teeming with confidence at the start of his round Monday.
The lefty opened with a birdie and then, after back-to-back pars, rattled off four birdies in a row to get to 5-under. He gave one shot back with a bogey at No. 9 and made seven pars around birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 to gain the playoff.
"I was feeling it on the front nine, really had it going, (and then) went into a little bit of lull in the middle there but made a couple birdies on the back," Steger wrote. "(I didn't do anything) special coming down the stretch but I did have a 10-footer for par on 18, which I knew I needed to make to have a chance at getting in a playoff."
After the clutch birdie at No. 1, eliminating Andre, the three remaining golfers made pars at Nos. 2 and 3. Steger and Visacki both birdied No. 4, eliminating Leadbetter, before the playoff ended on No. 5 as the sky began to get dark.
"Going to (No.) 5, the tour director Christian (Bartolacci) said it would be our last hole because a storm was coming fast," Steger wrote. "We could see it and hear it. I hit the green to about 30 feet and ... Mike made a mistake and hit it over the green on a back hole location. He chipped it to about 5 feet, but lipped it out and I two-putted for par for the win."
For Steger, he's not sure what the immediate future holds. He was entered in Mackenzie Tour/PGA Tour-Canada Qualifying School, but that was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic and he hasn't heard what the prospects are for playing opportunities north of the border during the current calendar year.
"I'm just waiting to hear back from them," Steger wrote. "Otherwise, I'm just going to keep working on the game and playing some mini-tour events and State Opens."
|1||Kaylor Steger||Sturtevant, WI||-6||18||-6||66||66||$2,000.00|
|2||James Leadbetter||Champions Gate, FL||-6||18||-6||66||66||$816.67|
|2||Mike Andre||Fort Myers, FL||-6||18||-6||66||66||$816.67|
|2||Michael Visacki||Sarasota, FL||-6||18||-6||66||66||$816.67|
|5||Jared Kobren||Sarasota, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Ryan Celano||Naples, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Jordan Miller||Bradenton, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Daniel Chopra||Orlando, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Domenico Geminiani||Lugo, ITA||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Matt Hutchins||Naples, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|5||Daniel Robinson||Seminole, FL||-3||18||-3||69||69||$441.43|
|12||Gray Barnes||Stormville, NY||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||M.J. Maguire||St. Petersburg, FL||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||Cole Miller||Tampa, FL||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||Jazz Janewattananond||Bangkok, THA||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||a-Carl Santos-Ocampo||Naples, FL||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||Jake Marriott||Naples, FL||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|12||Jack Korzon||Downers Grove, IL||-2||18||-2||70||70||$170.00|
|19||Charles Wang||Bradenton, FL||-1||18||-1||71||71|
|19||Dominic Formato||Flushing, NY||-1||18||-1||71||71|
|19||Sean Kelly||Staten Island, NY||-1||18||-1||71||71|
|22||Sean Jacklin||Bradenton, FL||Even||18||Even||72||72|
|22||a-Kelvin Si||Macau, MAC||Even||18||Even||72||72|
|22||Tim Rosenhouse||Dix Hills, NY||Even||18||Even||72||72|
|22||a-Michael Bell||Bradenton, FL||Even||18||Even||72||72|
|22||a-Jackson Suber||Tampa, FL||Even||18||Even||72||72|
|27||a-Tony Chen||Bradenton, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||Kyle Rodes||Plymouth, MI||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Tyler Carlson||Bradenton, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||Michael Colgate||Sarasota, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Jet Chen||Bradenton, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Jason Hu||Hong Kong, CHN||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Devin Hernandez||Seminole, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||Patrick Williams||Toronto, CAN||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Alex Long||Lakewood Ranch, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||a-Beni Long||Lakewood Ranch, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|27||Cody Montgomery||Brooksville, FL||+1||18||+1||73||73|
|38||James Whatmore||Bradenton, FL||+2||18||+2||74||74|
|38||Stephen Stallings||Louisville, KY||+2||18||+2||74||74|
|38||Andrew Wilkinson||Rochelle, IL||+2||18||+2||74||74|
|38||Eamonn McLoughlin||Marco Island, FL||+2||18||+2||74||74|
|38||a-William Masuhr||Bradenton, FL||+2||18||+2||74||74|
|43||Stephen Arnold||Langhorne, PA||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|43||a-Carson Enright||Sarasota, FL||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|43||a-Jon Moles||Frederick, MD||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|43||Benjamin Ham||Clearwater, FL||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|43||a-Sam Rogers||Sebring, FL||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|43||Ricky Palonis||Manhattan, IL||+3||18||+3||75||75|
|49||a-Jiarong Liu||Hohhot, CHN||+4||18||+4||76||76|
|49||Scott Cashell||Columbus, OH||+4||18||+4||76||76|
|49||a-Brent Fredericksen||Staten Island, NY||+4||18||+4||76||76|
|49||a-Shawn Tsai||Tampa, FL||+4||18||+4||76||76|
|49||a-Gregory Solhaug||Stavern, NOR||+4||18||+4||76||76|
|54||a-Kymer Li||Bradenton, FL||+5||18||+5||77||77|
|54||a-Remec Carlson||Bradenton, FL||+5||18||+5||77||77|
|54||David Noto||Santa Rosa Beach, FL||+5||18||+5||77||77|
|54||Jake Daly||Cincinnati, OH||+5||18||+5||77||77|
|54||Samuel Chavez||Bradenton, FL||+5||18||+5||77||77|
|59||Ben McLochlin||Lakewood Ranch, FL||+6||18||+6||78||78|
|59||a-William Thomson||Naples, Fl||+6||18||+6||78||78|
|61||a-Frank Bellino||Sarasota, FL||+7||18||+7||79||79|
|61||Zach Mahan||Medford, MA||+7||18||+7||79||79|
|61||a-Ryan Kinkead||Lakewood Ranch, FL||+7||18||+7||79||79|
|64||a-Alexander Bury||Tampa, FL||+8||18||+8||80||80|
|65||a-J.T. Barker||Bethlehem, PA||+9||18||+9||81||81|
|66||a-Alan Klenor||Longboat Key, FL||+10||18||+10||82||82|
|67||a-Noah Cone||Bradenton, FL||+13||18||+13||85||85|
|67||a-Muhammad Sati||Medan, IND||+13||18||+13||85||85|
|69||a-Louie Liu||Bradenton, FL||+15||18||+15||87||87|
|69||Jesse Locke||Palm Harbor, FL||+15||18||+15||87||87|
|71||Willie Mack III||Flint, MI||NS||1||NS||NS|
|72||a-Matt Heuerman||Naples, FL||WD||1||WD||WD|
|72||Charles Beauregard||Naples, FL||WD||1||WD||WD|
|72||Ryoto Furuya||Tampa, FL||WD||1||WD||WD|