Alex Kang lined up for his second shot on the 16th hole at Bakersfield Country Club just hoping to hit the ball close to the pin.
Instead, the 50-foot putt went into the hole, giving Kang his second eagle of the day.
The improbable shot helped the Las Vegas native win the 2019 Bakersfield Open. Kang shot a 5-under par 67 during Friday’s final round of the three-day Golden State Tour event to finish 11-under, two strokes better than runner-up Brad Marek of San Francisco.
“It always feels good to win an event, small or big,” Kang said. “I haven’t played in a Golden State event in a while. It was fun. There were some good players. I played solid this week.”
Kang entered the final round tied for third place, one shot behind co-leaders Marek and Blake Abercrombie.
While Marek carded five birdies and three bogeys to finish 2-under, Abercrombie was 2-over, the second worst score of the final round.
Kang and Marek were tied for the tournament lead through 12 holes. Kang bogeyed the 13th hole to fall behind by a stroke but quickly recovered from the miscue, sinking a birdie putt on No. 14. Minutes later Marek bogeyed the same hole, giving Kang a one-shot lead that he wouldn’t relinquish.
Kang made sure of that with his eagle on the 296-yard, par-4, 16th hole.
“I didn’t particularly hit it that well the last few days, but I had a positive attitude and some putts rolled in today,” Kang said. “That helped.”
His putt to finish off hole No. 16 really helped his cause.
“I was just trying to lag it close and it went in with some speed,” Kang said. “That was nice.”
Despite falling short of winning, Marek, was satisfied with the way he played.
“I can’t really complain,” Marek said. “I set a goal at the start of the day to shoot four under. I thought that would probably have a chance to get it done. I thought if I shot five (under) it would probably get it done without a playoff. As it turns out my prediction was fairly accurate.”
Marek’s 2-under 70 final round was his worst of the tournament.
“I made three bogeys from the fairway, today, which is kind of uncharacteristic of my game,” Marek said. “Gave myself plenty of looks today but didn’t putt quite as well as I did yesterday.”
Bryan Martin, the tournament's 2016 winner, shot the lowest round of the day, a 7-under, 65.
The Thousand Oaks native birdied six of the first seven holes on the back-nine before a carding a double-bogey on the 419-yard, par-4, hole No. 18.
Only 25 of the 84 golfers that started the tournament on Wednesday made the cut for the final round.
Just two of the seven locals entered in the event survived the cut.
MJ Morin was the highest finishing local. The 25-year old ended up 7-under par, tied for sixth place.
“I’m definitely pleased (with the way I played in the tournament),” Morin said. “I played solid all week. I made only four bogeys in 54 holes. I kept it mistake-free. It would have been nice to make some more birdies but overall it was a good week.”
Former Bakersfield High and Fresno State standout Bhavik Patel, a two-time Bakersfield Open winner (2014, 2017), finished the tournament tied for eighth place at 6-under par.
Patel, who is once again scheduled to play full-time on the Web.com Tour this year, shot 69 on Friday.
“For being my home track that’s about as bad as I could have played,” Patel said. “I just didn’t have it. I made zero putts and I know these greens pretty well. But they had them in some tricky spots and I just got fooled, every day. I hit the ball pretty good. I just made nothing. You’re not going to really score well if you don’t make any putts.”