For many players in the last few groups and the galleries following them on the lush fairways at MeadowWood, the Rosauers Open Invitational appeared to be heading to a fabulous finish with a stack of golfers in contention.
Turns out the fabulous stuff was authored earlier by Tim Feenstra.
He finished off a sizzling 11-under 61 about 75 minutes before the final group putted out on No. 18. Feenstra equaled Corey Prugh’s four-day-old course record and blew away the field Sunday to win the tournament by two shots with a 54-hole total of 16-under 200.
Richland amateur Drew McCullough followed up Saturday’s 63 with a 65 to take second at 14-under. David Phay (69) shared third at 12-under with Manito’s Prugh (68), Glendale Country Club’s Scott Williams (67) and Tacoma’s Mitch Runge (64).
Six groups teed off after Feenstra, a 31-year-old assistant pro at Seattle’s Broadmoor Golf Club. He entered the day tied for 20th, four shots behind co-leaders Phay and Ryan Benzel. Feenstra ended the day by making a 50-foot birdie putt on 17 and chipping in for birdie on 18 and claiming the $11,000 first-prize check.
“I didn’t look at the leaderboard on 16 because I didn’t want to think about it and I wanted to play one shot and one hole at a time,” said Feenstra, whose best career round was a 63. “I was hoping it was enough. I’ve wanted to win this event for many years.”
Feenstra led the 2011 Rosauers by one stroke on the 18th tee at Indian Canyon. He made bogey and Prugh eagled to take a two-shot victory. This time, it was Feenstra who piled up birdies (seven) and eagles (two) in a magical round witnessed by a handful of folks following playing partners Darren Black and Shane Prante.
Word of Feenstra’s 61 started to reach some fans checking updates on their phones when the last few groups were on 14 and 15. Phay and Coeur d’Alene Golf Club pro Brent Walsh, who staged an entertaining back-and-forth battle most of the round, received the news on No. 18. Same with McCullough, who had a birdie-birdie finish.
“I was playing to beat the guys in my group because I didn’t think anyone behind me or ahead of me was that far under,” the University of Wyoming-bound McCullough said. “But good round from him, and I thought I had it, but oh well.”
Feenstra had never played MeadowWood until Friday. He walked most of the back nine Thursday night before it got dark. He toured the front nine early Friday morning.
“Sometimes when you don’t know where some of the stuff is you kind of free-wheel it,” Feenstra said.
Walsh and Phay, a pro from Oak Harbor, Washington, reached 13-under at different points on the back nine. Benzel, a Ritzville native who played at the University of Idaho, shot a 71 and finished in a tie for 12th.
“I probably hit two or three squirrelly shots that led to bogey, but I chipped in on 11 and that helped,” said Walsh, who finished in a five-way tie for seventh that included Black (66) and Kyler Gable (68), who played for Community Colleges of Spokane and Lewis-Clark State College. “All in all, I’m pretty thrilled.”
Said Phay: “I forgot to look at the leaderboard on 16, but at that point I would have had to make birdies on those last three holes and that would have been pretty tough.”
Feenstra drained putts from 15 feet on No. 4, 15 feet on No. 7, 35-40 feet on No. 8, 10 feet on No. 9, 8 feet on No. 11, 15 feet on No. 12, 5 feet on No. 13 and 50 feet on No. 17.
“The only way you can shoot 61 is you make a lot of putts,” he said.
And it made for a fabulous round.