Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Martin arrived at the scenic Sea Island Golf Club practice facility on Tuesday morning, receiving congratulations from his peers following his first career PGA Tour victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday. The quiet Clemson graduate shyly accepted the accolades and went about his business between the constant interruptions. Martin played the final four holes in 4-under par to ultimately win by two shots. When he was asked by Team Titleist what he felt his shot of the day was, he - and his caddie Alex who was also present - could not limit it to just one.
His winning stretch began on the 341 yard 15th hole which he drove to the middle of the green and two-putted for birdie. "That was probably my best drive of the week given the circumstances at the time. I had pulled a couple of drives previously and that is not a hole you want to be left." He birdied the 15th hole four times en route to his 20-under par 264 victory total.
He followed his birdie with an eagle on the 560-yard par 5 16th hole. Following a 312-yard drive down the middle of the fairway, Martin never wavered about hitting "a smooth 6-iron over the water to the middle of the green. We had 190 yards to the front and about 200 to the pin which was a perfect yardage for that club." The ball landed 46 feet from the pin which he converted for his second eagle of the week (he also eagled the 16th in Round 1).
The tee shot on the par 3 196 yard 17th was also critical, as the green is guarded by water on the left. "We just wanted to play it to the middle right of the green and that's what we did." Martin left his shot 48 feet from the pin for a simple two-putt par.
Martin completed his first victory in style, splitting the fairway on the 444-yard par 4 with a 297-yard drive. He left his approach shot 19 feet from the hole which he "calmly" converted for birdie and a two-shot victory. "It may not have shown on the outside, but my heart was pounding. It was something I have worked for all my life and I just wanted to finish strong."
Anybody who watched the broadcast of Martin's performance on Sunday heard the announcers discussing at length the comment Ben made on Saturday about not watching the leaderboard during competition, even if he was in the lead. Team Titleist asked Martin about his philosophy and if he actually took a peek during the day.
"I really didn't. When you are out there in the heat of the competition, you can feel things that are going on around you."
With his caddie, Alex, by his side, Team Titleist asked him if he ever said anything.
"Absolutely not," said Alex, which is when Ben chimed in and said, "I asked him on the 18th fairway if I need to do anything special." Alex's response, "Hit the green and two-putt." Martin did one better.