- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2017

For the first time in 49 years, a South Carolina native has won at Harbour Town in Hilton Head.

Wesley Bryan began Sunday’s final round four shots off the lead held by Jason Dufner, but a 67 gave the Tour rookie a one shot win over Luke Donald.

South Carolinians Tommy Gainey, Ben Martin, and Kevin Kisner all had legitimate chances to break through at Harbour Town in recent years, but it was Bryan who finally broke the home state curse.

“This one is as good as it gets,” Bryan told reporters. “It’s the one that I grew up dreaming on the practice green late at night when I was a kid, like this putts to win the Heritage. To get it done here is one of the coolest experiences ever.”

Bryan hadn’t earned a single Official World Golf Ranking point as recently as January 2016. After his breakthrough win, Bryan is ranked 37th in the world and 14th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Just a few years ago Bryan was grinding on the mini tours, hoping to earn his way onto the big stage. At that time, he was known more for the trick shot videos he made with his brother George than for his actual golf game.

Bryan won three times on the Web.com Tour last season and earned himself a “battleground promotion” to the PGA Tour. Three top-ten finishes earlier in his rookie season convinced Bryan he was ready to earn his first Tour win.

Maintaining composure under pressure can be tough for any player, but especially for a rookie looking for his first win. Bryan admitted the nerves hit him down the stretch.

“[On] 17, I got up, and I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. And I was like, shoot, I guess this is what nervous feels like,” he said. “I was super nervous, but I didn’t really know it. It’s not like I had my hands shaking or I was getting ahead in my thought process.”

Bryan battled the nerves and parred the final three holes to defeat Donald, who finished second at Harbour Town for the fifth time.

“Coming down the stretch the last four holes I didn’t really miss a shot,” Bryan said. “And it’s really satisfying to know that under the gun I was able to perform.”

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