After putting together 36 solid but relatively uneventful holes during the first two days of the 24th annual Rosauers Open Invitation golf tournament, Corey Prugh hopped on what resembled an amusement park thrill ride Sunday afternoon at Indian Canyon Golf Course.
The assistant pro at Manito Golf & Country Club made every number from one to six during a wild final-round ride – which included a hole-in-one, a near-calamitous double bogey and an eagle-3 on the 449-yard, par-5 finishing hole – to chase down second-round co-leader Tim Feenstra, an assistant pro at Seattle’s Broadmoor Golf Club, and capture this second Rosauers title in the past three years.
The 30-year-old Prugh, who entered Sunday’s closing round of the 54-hole event trailing Feenstra and Darek Franklin by a single stroke, aced the difficult 224-yard par-3 eighth hole by landing a 4-iron just shot of the green and rolling it some 45 feet into the cup.
And he bounced back nicely from a double-bogey 6 on the 438-yard, par-4 14th by making birdies at 15 and 17 and then closing things out with a textbook eagle on 18 to pocket the $11,000 winner’s check.
Prugh, who finished second in last year’s Rosauers, made seven birdies to go along with his hole-in-one and closing eagle to post a final-round score of 8-under-par 63 and finish with a 54-hole total of 19-under 194.
Feenstra, who stepped to the 18th tee holding a one-stroke lead over Prugh, bogeyed the closing hole to shoot 66 and finished two strokes off the lead. His runner-up finish was worth $7,250.
Brian Thornton, a professional playing out of Meridian Valley Country Club, took home $5,100 for finishing third at 197 in the $135,000 event; Glendale Country Club pro Derek Berg netted $4,300 for posting a 54-hole total of 200; and Derek Barron, from Oakbrook Golf & Country Club, finished alone in fifth place to earn his second Rosauers low-amateur award.
But the day belonged to Prugh, who survived his roller-coaster ride to become the fifth player to win multiple Rosauers titles.
“I’ve worked really hard through the years on trying to figure this golf course out,” Prugh said, when asked to explain his recent success at the 6,255-yard, tree-lined Indian Canyon layout that plays to a par of 71. “You know, things like where to hit it off the tee, and what kind of putts to leave yourself. I’ve also focused on trying to be really calm and patient, not trying to force anything, and just letting in happen.
“And I love having my wife (Katie) here, too. It’s a really fun week for me.”
Prugh opened his final round, and quickly caught Feenstra and Franklin, by making an unlikely birdie from the trees on the par-4 first hole. He pulled his drive deep left, but recovered by hitting a nifty low-flighted second shot that stayed under a low-hanging branch, turned hard to the left and rolled on the green about 25-feet from the pin, from where he made his downhill putt.
And he opened a brief three-stroke lead at No. 8, where Feenstra failed to get up and down from just in front of the green after watching Prugh dunk his tee shot.
“When a competitor makes a hole-in-one, it’s hard to come back from,” admitted the 28-year-old Feenstra. “I made a good putt for par on that same hole that didn’t go it, but then I birdied 10, 11 and 12 to get back in the hunt. I made some good swings coming down the stretch, too – and some good putts – but I got beat by an eagle on 18.”
Nursing a one-stroke lead on the final hole, Feenstra pushed his tee shot to the right, clipped a branch with his second and then flew his third over the green, from where he took three shots to get up and down.
“You never want to see a guy like Tim struggle on the last hole like that,” Prugh said after draining his slippery 15-foot left-to-right eagle putt on 18. “But it made me focus more and make sure I hit a good (approach) shot in the right spot to give myself a chance of winning.”
When asked what was more mentally difficult to deal with – the hole-in-one on eight, or the double on 14, where he drove it left into the trees, punched out sideways, left his third buried just below the lip of a green-side, blasted out and two putted from 28 feet below the hole – Prugh said, “This is going come out weird, but they were both really calming.
“I didn’t see the hole-in-one go it, which helped. And on No. 14, I was just happy I made the three-footer for double. I was a little upset hitting (my first putt) that short of the hole and thinking, ‘Why did you do that?’ But then I figured, ‘Let’s not compound the issue. Let’s make this putt, hit some good shots going in and see how things work out.’”
Following Sunday’s final round, the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery was presented with a check for $131,500, pushing the amount of money the Rosauers has earned for the charitable organization over $2 million.