WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
The biggest comeback in Greenbrier Classic history was at the inaugural event in 2010.
Back then, Stuart Appleby fired a course-record 59 to storm from seven back to edge third-round leader Jeff Overton.
This year, the Old White TPC nearly saw the same as a heavy-hearted George McNeill aced the par-3 eighth while carding seven birdies en route to a 9-under 61 to vault to the top of the leaderboard.
The storybook ending was short-lived though, as two-time major champion Angel Cabrera walked away as the 2014 Greenbrier Classic Champion.
“The truth of the matter is I just had a great week,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I’ve just been working very hard to get to this moment. I’m very, very happy.”
Cabrera, who started two back of 54-hole leader Billy Hurley III, got to 17-under after eagling the par-4 13th which gave him a three-shot lead over McNeill.
Back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 shrunk Cabrera’s lead to one, but the veteran steadied the ship with a birdie at No. 17 to win by two strokes at 16-under par.
“It felt a little unlucky,” Cabrera said of his back-to-back bogeys. “At 14, I hit a good shot and backed off the green. And then 15, I hit another good shot and it came up bogey, but I still had to stay focused and concentrating on the task at hand.”
Cabrera, who shot a 6-under 64 in the final round, had never won a regular PGA Tour event before Sunday.
The Argentinian has won two majors — the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters.
“This was a great opportunity,” he said. “I wanted it. I needed to win a tournament.
“I felt under control out there and I didn’t want to let it get away from me.”
The win by Cabrera kept alive several streaks at the Classic.
Every winner has been playing in their first Greenbrier Classic and has come from behind.
Billy Hurley III was hoping to break those streaks after holding a two-shot lead after 54 holes.
The Navy veteran started with a birdie on No. 1, but three bogeys over the next five holes dropped him from contention.
Hurley finished with a 3-over 73 to drop into a tie for fourth at 9-under.
McNeill, whose sister Michele passed away Sunday night, put together an amazing round to finish second.
He birdied four straight par-4s — Nos. 4-7 — then made the first ace of this year’s tournament.
McNeill didn’t stop there, as he birdied the par-4 10th, par-4 16th and par-5 17th.