Winning on the PGA Tour is no easy task. Just ask Tiger Woods — or better yet, ask Jeff Overton.
A final round 59 by Stuart Appleby, a tie for the lowest round ever in a PGA Tour event, erased Overton’s three-shot lead Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic and gave the 2005 IU grad his third runner-up finish of the 2010 season.
IU coach Mike Mayer watched Overton in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., and despite not earning his first career victory was very pleased with his former pupil.
“Fifty-nine, it’s pretty simple,” Mayer said in regard to what led to another runner-up finish for Overton. “You can’t control if someone shoots 59, but Jeff hit some great shots on Sunday, and he will learn what it takes to win.”
Overton’s play at the Greenbrier Classic marked another impressive week for the former All-American. The 2010 season got off to a rocky start as he missed four cuts and recorded zero top 15 finishes until finishing second April 25 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
A return trip to Bloomington, his home during the season, was all Overton needed to get things turned around.
“He hung out with the team a lot and was able to practice before New Orleans,” Mayer said. “After that week, I’ve never seen him have so much confidence in my life, and I think he’s showing that he is a special talent.”
Since mid-May, arguably no player has been hotter on tour than Overton. Four more top-3 finishes to go along with an 11th-place showing at the British Open has put the Evansville native in the wide-open discussion for 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Thanks to his recent success, Overton’s schedule will stay very busy as the 2010 season closes out.
Starting Wednesday, Overton will play in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The following week, Overton will play in the final major of the year at the PGA Championship before taking a week off and then embarking on the four-week FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour’s version of the playoffs.
While at IU, Overton represented the United States in the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, two marquee team events between the United States and Europe.
Overton’s recent play has given him the opportunity to don the red, white and blue once again, this time at the Ryder Cup in Wales during the first week of October.
He currently sits at fourth place in the Ryder Cup standings, whose top 8 players automatically receive a spot on the U.S. team.
“Jeff has an incredible match play record with the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, so I hope that (the Ryder Cup) comes to fruition,” Mayer said.
Throughout Sunday’s final round Overton wore his emotions on his cream and crimson attire as he was shown talking to himself after certain shots and questioning his decision-making. To the casual sports fan, Overton’s emotion might seem over-the-top and not suited for winning — but don’t tell that to his former coach.
“I think he’s emotional because he wants to win,” Mayer said. “I don’t think its nerves or anxiety. He hit 18 greens on Sunday, so I do not think he’s too concerned about that.”
Mayer, who watched Overton capture eight individual titles and back-to-back Big Ten Championships at IU, could not be prouder of his former player.
“He bleeds cream and crimson, and the fact that he has developed into a great player and we might have had a small part in that is OK,” Mayer said. “But what’s special, I think, is that Jeff is all about Indiana University, and I said it when I recruited Jeff that he would help build this program — and he is continuing to do that to this day.”