Rookie Captures Nationwide Event

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2007 South Georgia ClassicVALDOSTA, Ga. -- John Kimbell, a 38-year-old Nationwide Tour rookie, shot a 3-under 69 Sunday to win the South Georgia Classic.
 
Kimbell made a birdie at No. 16 to edge Australia's Matthew Jones by one shot, finishing at 10-under-par 278 overall for his first career win.
 
He was the only player who broke 70 during the final round.
 
'I always knew I could do this, but I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen,' said Kimbell, who claimed $108,000 and moved to second place on the money list. 'I couldn't be happier. It's unbelievable to win at this level.'
 
Jones had a one-under 71 and finished alone in second place at nine-under 279.
 
Jeff Klauk (71) and Chez Reavie (72) tied for third place at five-under 283, with former PGA Tour player Carlos Franco (73) another shot back at 284.
 
Monday qualifier Paul Dickinson, who shared the overnight lead with Jones, struggled to a seven-over 79 and tumbled all the way into a tie for 13th place at one-under.
 
While Dickinson and the rest of the field did their best to stay out of the way, Kimbell and Jones battled for the lead.
 
Jones made birdie from a bunker at No. 2 to take a two-shot lead, but Kimbell squared it with back-to-back birdies from No. 6. Kimbell later stumbled to a double-bogey at the par-four 10th, but the pair were still even because Jones made back-to-back bogeys around the turn.
 
The tournament was decided from holes 12-16.
 
Jones bogeyed the 12th to fall one shot back, then tied Kimbell again with a birdie at the 14th. But Kimbell pulled ahead for good when he birdied the 16th, then held on with consecutive pars to win in just his ninth Nationwide Tour start.
 
While wind wreaked havoc Sunday at Kinderlou Forest -- the longest course ever to host a PGA Tour-sanctioned event -- Kimbell scored more than six shots better than the field average for the final round.
 
Of course, he knows Kinderlou well, having won his third Hooters Tour title there last September.
 
'I love this place,' he said. 'I know this golf course and that is definitely an advantage around here. Last year, for some reason, I knew I was going to win here. I didn't have the exact same feeling at the beginning of this week, but I knew I was going to play well.'
 
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