BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 2017 Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic title came down to two golfers, defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez and Gene Sauers. It took an extra-hole to decide the champion.
Entering the halfway point Jimenez was tied with Joe Durant at 10 under. The 9th hold proved difficult for some and productive for others. Durant was in contention, but he would hit a brick wall. A double-bogey dropped Durant to 8 under.
Jimenez had no problem with hole No. 9. He drained a birdie and held a one-shot lead over Gene Sauers.
That lead had increased to two strokes as the two golfers headed to the 18th green when disaster struck. Jimenez appeared ready to claim victory, when he double-bogeyed.
That opened the door wide-open for Sauers. His par on 18 forced sudden death as both men completed lay at 13 under. Jimenez fired a two-under 70, Saucers had a one-under 71.
The first-ever Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic sudden death playoff, Sauers ended up in the bunker on No. 18, the first playoff hole.
The most interesting man in golf placed his ball on the green, 18 feet away from victory Jimenez wasted no time, dropped a birdie and claimed back-to-back Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Championships.
Jimenez said, "Definitely nice. You know I feel I played very well. After hole No. 9, when I made birdie, I feel like I could win the tournament.
It's nice. I'm happy to defend the title the way I defended it."
I told Jimenez that the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic might not return next year and he was shocked, couldn't believe it and pleaded for someone to come forward to bring it back in 2018.
Over the last two years Miguel Angel Jimenez has pocketed $480,000 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. He wants it to return next year looking for a three-peat.
Saucers will cash a check for $140,000 for his second place finish. Steve Stricker picked up his play on the final 18 holes. He shot the best round on Sunday, a 7 under 65. His third place finish earned him $105,000, tied with Bernhard Langer.
Poplarville native Glen Day was tied for sixth place with Kirk Triplett, Kevin Sutherland, and Rod Spittle. Each golfer received a check for $54,400.