The 33-year-old mini-tour professional, who resides in Forsyth, won the event by seven strokes after carding a final round 7-under-par 65 to finish the tournament at 19-under.
McLuen’s finish was similar to his 2011 Georgia Open victory, when he also prevailed by seven strokes at Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville.
Rising Kennesaw State senior Jimmy Beck, who won low amateur honors with a final round 67, finished second overall at 12-under. Despite his low score and having played multiple tournaments at Pinetree and winning the 2013 Georgia Amatuer on this course, he couldn’t keep up with McLuen after the first five holes.
McLuen finished the tournament with rounds of 66-72-66-65. For the week he made 25 birdies and two eagles. As it turned out, course design at Pinetree and the faster greens better suited McLuen.
“This golf course is set up like a PGA Tour event,” said McLuen, currently a mini-tour player with sights on qualifying for the PGA Tour in the future. “For whatever reason, I really focus well on courses like this.”
Only four strokes in front of Beck going into Sunday’s round, McLuen made five birdies in his first nine holes on the back nine to pull away from Beck, who had four birdies on the back nine to start his round.
Kennesaw State’s Kelby Burton and former Kennesaw State golfer Matt Nagy, who both tied for third, and former North Cobb golfer Chris Nicol, who took fifth, couldn’t do a whole lot except give McLuen credit.
“I was 3-under through 7 and I lost 1 or 2 shots to him already,” Nicol said. “It’s one of those (days) where you are not going to catch him. Once you get that far ahead, you’re not going to blow up.”
After nearly of decade in playing the mini-tours, the Web.com tour and PGA qualifiers, McLuen said he hopes to obtain his PGA Tour card within the next year.
He knows it’s not going to be easy.
McLuen has played in two PGA tournaments this season and his highlight was finishing 16th in the OHL Classic at Myabola in Riveria Maya, Mexico where he broke 70 in all four rounds. He also played the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio in late March but missed the cut.
“Everybody is good,” McLuen said of the players on the PGA Tour. “Everyone in the field can win a golf tournament. It’s changed so much in the last 30 years. Everybody is so deep. You can go out and play pretty well and someone can beat you. Someone is always playing better than you and when you win it feels nice.”
McLuen played one season at the College of Charleston before giving professional golf a shot in 2000. After a year on the professional tour, he worked four years as a teaching pro in Athens and in Charleston, S.C. before returning to tournament golf in 2005.