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Final-Hole Birdie Earns Hicks $9,000 in Verdict Ridge Invitational

DENVER, N.C. -- Veteran mini-tour player Justin Hicks, who played collegiately at Michigan, made a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Thursday to take home the $9,000 first-place check in the Tarheel Tour's Verdict Ridge Invitational at Verdict Ridge Country Club.
Hicks, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., needed that final birdie to shoot 71 and stave off a charge by former Winthrop standout Matt Johnson of Fairfax, Va. Hicks' 11-under total of 205 gave him a one-shot victory over Johnson, who also birdied the last hole and earned $5,000 for second."I knew it was either make that putt or go to a playoff," said Hicks, who was in the area to try and qualify for a pair of Nationwide Tour events. "It was the only one-putt birdie I made all day. I was starting to get disappointed, but I finally made it when I had to."

Rockwell's Karl Mitchell, a UNC Greensboro grad, closed with a 73 to finish at 208 and collect $3,000 for third, while William McGirt of Taylors, S.C., who played collegiately at Wofford, posted an impressive 67 to move into fourth place and take home $2,500.
Huntersville's Matt Cannon was among four golfers who tied for fifth at 212 and earned $1,625 apiece.
Although he was in North Carolina for Nationwide Tour qualifying, this week's winner was impressed with the Tarheel Tour. "Everything moved nice and smoothly, and I like how they set it up tough," Hicks said. "It's nice to play tucked pins because that's the way it is at the next two levels. It's only going to make us better players."
The next tour stop is the Warrior Golf Classic, May 4-6 at Warrior Golf Club in China Grove, N.C.
Tarheel Professional Tour
Verdict Ridge Invitational
Final Results
Par 72 -- 6,992 Yards
Justin Hicks, Royal Palm Beach, FL, $9,000 67-67-71--205
Matt Johnson, Fairfax, Va., $5,000 64-72-70--206
Karl Mitchell, Rockwell, $3,000 67-68-73--208
William McGirt, Taylors, SC, $2,500 69-73-67--209
Charles Frost, St. Simons Island, Ga., $1,625 70-76-66--212
Matt Cannon, Huntersville, $1,625 72-71-69--212
Justin Walters, Raleigh, $1,625 70-71-71--212
Ryan Gioffre, Greensboro, $1,625 68-71-73--212
Len Calvert, Easley, SC, $1,125 67-72-74--213
Todd Pinneo, Fayetteville, Ark., $1,125 70-73-70--213
Kyle Bradley, N. Augusta, SC, $1,125 72-71-70--213
Scott Parel, Augusta, Ga., $1,125 67-74-72--213
Nathan Bertsch, Sunset, SC, $925 71-72-71--214
Erik Herberth, Huntersville, $925 76-67-71--214
Jason Harris, Clemmons, $925 68-72-74--214
Shintaro Kai, Saitama, Japan, $925 68-71-75--214
Jeff Curl, Jupiter, FL, $775 71-73-71--215
Jason Martin, Lenoir, $775 66-76-73--215
Korky Kemp, Greensboro, $675 72-74-70--216
David Siegel, Charlotte, $675 66-75-75--216
Fernando Mechereffe, Charlotte, $675 70-70-76--216
Trae Ely, Charlotte, $612.50 70-74-73--217
Jason Hickman, Ft. Myers, FL, $612.50 69-75-73--217
Scott Polen, Palm Bch. Gardens, FL, $570 75-71-72--218
Chris Wisler, Dover, Del., $570 67-75-76--218
Johann Benson, Pincourt, Quebec, $536.66 71-75-73--219
David Seawell, Columbia, SC, $536.66 73-73-73--219
John Connelly, Oregon, OH, $536.66 68-75-76--219
Brian Agee, Bluffton, SC, $500 76-70-74--220
David Mobley, Huntersville, $500 69-77-75--221
Ben Friedell, Shaker Heights, OH, $500 72-74-80--226