CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Tusculum golfer Brad Hawkins recorded his first professional victory by winning the 2017 Charlotte Classic. The 54-hole GProTour event was held this week at the par-72, 6,757-yard Palisades Country Club.
Hawkins, a 2016 Tusculum graduate, carded an 11-under par total of 205 over the 54-hole tournament, including Thursday’s final round 68 (-4). He would finish in a tie with Drew Czuchry of Alpharetta, Georgia at minus-11, but Hawkins claimed the win in a playoff and claim the $6,700 first prize.
Hawkins was six-under par thru 12 holes in Thursday’s round, including four consecutive birdies on holes 9-12. He bogeyed No. 13 but bounced back with a birdie on No. 15 to get back to minus-six on the day. But Hawkins would bogey two of his final three holes to finish with 68. Meanwhile, Czuchry finished with 70 including a three-under par 33 on his inward nine to tie Hawkins.
Hawkins opened the tournament with a 71 on Tuesday and followed with a 66 in Wednesday’s second round.
This was Hawkins second GProTour event as he tied for eighth place at the Starmount Forest event earlier this month.
Hawkins, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, starred on the Tusculum golf team from 2014-2016 where he accounted for one of the best playing careers in school history.
Hawkins’ career scoring average of 71.37 established a new school and South Atlantic Conference record. His five career medalist wins are tied for third most at Tusculum, while his 24 career sub-par rounds are a TC record. He was also a semifinalist for the 2016 Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award.
Hawkins, who was named to the 2016 GCAA Division II PING All-America Team, posted a 70.71 stroke average in his senior campaign. Hawkins was named the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, becoming the fourth Pioneer in program history to earn the league’s top golf honor. His seasonal stroke average was also a new SAC-best. Hawkins finished in the top-five in nine of his 12 events, including medalist honors at the State Farm Intercollegiate, Pioneer Classic and Hargett Memorial Intercollegiate. He qualified for the NCAA II Super Regional where he finished 15th.
Hawkins posted a school single-season record 16 sub-par rounds, with nine of those in the 60s, including an 18-hole TC and SAC record 63 at the 2015 Pioneer Classic. During the Pioneer Classic, he carded the lowest 36-hole score in school and SAC history with an eight-under par 132. He also established the 54-hole TC and SAC record with a remarkable 16-under par 200 at the 2015 State Farm Intercollegiate.
He graduated from Tusculum with honors while majoring in sport management. He earned CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team honors and was named to the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, Dean’s List, Charles Oliver Gray Honors List and was a two-time GCAA All-America Scholar.
In his first year at Tusculum, he led the Pioneers to the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Championship and a berth to the NCAA Super Regional, both firsts for the program.
He played his first two collegiate seasons at Walters State Community College, where he guided the Senators to a 2014 NJCAA National Championship while earning All-America honors for a second straight year at the Morristown, Tennessee school.