It’s not often a golfer can overcome a triple bogey on the back nine in the final round and still hoist a championship trophy a couple of hours later.
Amateur Hank Frame did all that and more on a sweltering Sunday at The Fairways, recovering from a triple bogey on the par-5 12th to force a playoff with Michael Roters to decide the 49th annual Lilac City Invitational title. On the second extra hole, Frame drained a 9-foot par putt and then watched Roters’ 7-foot par putt slide right of the cup.
Frame, who will be a senior on Washington State University’s golf team this fall, wasn’t eligible for the $5,000 first-place check in the professional flight – that went to Roters – but he earned $500 in pro-shop merchandise for winning the championship flight and his name will go on the Joe Durgan Trophy as Lilac champion. He joins Pat Welch (1968) and Gary Floan (1971, 1975) as amateurs to win the Lilac.
“I had a similar putt, maybe 5 feet to the left, this morning so I knew it was pretty straight,” said Frame, who shot a 73 for a 72-hole total of 14-under 274.
Roters, who shot a 72, bumped his lead to three after birdies on 14 and 15, but he brought Frame and Jason Humphrey back into the mix with bogeys on 16 and 17. Roters’ drive on 16 ended up in front of the 11th tee box, leaving a difficult angle for his approach over a tree to a back-right pin. His shot clipped the tree, leading to a bogey. His tee shot on the 145-yard par-3 17th missed right of the green and he failed to get up-and-down.
“Some errant swings,” said Roters, who owns Gateway Golf Discount in Clarkston. “On 16 I was trying to hit it to the left-center of the green. The ball was kind of sitting up. I opened the face to make sure it came out high over the left side of the tree and it came out short right.”
Humphrey, who had three bogeys on the first four holes, made a bogey at 17 and missed a 12-foot putt on 18 that left him one stroke behind Roters and Frame. Humphrey shot a 73 and pocketed $3,000.
“I felt like I was behind the whole time so I’d try to press a little and someone else would make a mistake,” said Humphrey, who caddies at Bandon Dunes. “All of a sudden, I was the one making mistakes.”
Scores soared Sunday, mainly because of tough pin locations. Three players carded 69s, the only scores under 70.
Frame, a U-Hi graduate, led by two when he stepped on to the 12th tee box. His 4-iron from 215 yards sailed into deep grass to the right of the green. He hacked it out, then followed with a couple of shaky chips and a three-putt. He dropped into third place, trailing Roters by two and Humphrey by one.
“I was not thinking I had a chance after that,” Frame said. “All year on the golf team we worked on when you get into trouble get your bogey and run. I did a really good job of that until that hole. I just lost it for a minute.”
He got it back in a hurry, playing 2-under over the next six holes. A day after holing out a 76-yard approach on No. 16, Frame sent his approach within 5 feet – “One of my best shots of the week,” he said – and made the birdie putt.
Frame and Roters made pars on No. 1, the first playoff hole. Roters made a great chip out of knee-high grass behind the green on No. 2, but missed the par putt.
“Hank recovered well (from No. 12),” Roters said. “He does a really good job of deflecting things. You see a lot of young kids play and they let things eat at them.”