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Coston Dares To Be Winner Whatcom County Golfer Soars To Victory In Rosauers

Michael Jordan would love to be a professional golfer.

Deep down, it seems Jeff Coston would like to be like Mike.

Coston has the golf game Jordan wants, evidence being his three-shot victory Sunday in the 10th Rosauers Open Invitational at Indian Canyon.

Judging by his reaction, it sounds like he would rather knock down an 18-foot buzzer-beater on the basketball court than a 20-foot birdie.

“I’m pleased with the last four holes,” the former PGA Tour player said. “I stood up and was counted. Michael Jordan wants the ball at the end of the game and so do I.”

Coston, 41, who plays out of Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club north of Bellingham, earned the $12,000 first prize with a daring birdie on 17 and an eagle on 18 to beat Bill Porter of Quincy and Todd Erwin of Seattle by three strokes.

“What was good is I made my mind up to be on the offensive,” Coston said. “That’s what made me happy, being on the offensive, taking it to the basket.”

Coston opened the final round with a one-shot lead and held off several challenges. At the end, he played like the challenger.

“I want to win. Everyone can use the money, I want the victory,” Coston said. “I want to win running across the finish line.”

He did.

He was tied for the lead at 11-under when he reached No. 17, a short 267-yard uphill par-4. He took out a big stick and put the ball just short of the green. He got up and down to take the lead.

On the 449-yard par-5 18th he hit a 300-yard drive down the middle and put a 7-iron inside 10 feet, capping his victory with an eagle.

Coston shot a final-round of 5-under 66 on the 6,255-yard, par-71 course to finish the 54-hole tournament at 14-under 199.

Porter, who started two back, got out of the gate quickly, with a 5-under par 30 on the front side, and got away from the course quicker. He was tied for the lead after 16 holes, but could only make par on the two relatively easy finishing holes.

Todd Erwin, who also started the day two behind, never really mounted a charge, but a tap-in eagle on 18 gave him a tie with Porter at 202 and a matching check of $7,250.

Indian Canyon head pro Gary Lindeblad made a slight charge from five back with a closing 66 and tied his assistant David Christenson, for fourth at 204.

Christenson finished with a 70 after starting one back. He was in the chase, tied with Coston at 11-under after three-straight birdies through No. 6, but couldn’t keep the pressure on when he played the next seven holes 1-over.

“I thought I hit a decent shot on 9 and ended up behind the pin,” Christenson said of the key moment in his round. “I just didn’t get it up and down. I think I lost my focus. Three birdies in a row and I’m not picking up much ground. It takes a while to learn how to close it down. I feel like I learned a lot.”

Lindeblad said, “The problem is there are so many good players at the top, you’ve got to shoot 63 to make a run. I tried.”

Both earned $4,650.

Erwin got within one with a birdie on No. 2 but a string of pars hurt.

“When Coston and Christenson started making birdies I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ It seemed like they were making birdies on every hole. Right away I was two or three shots behind,” Erwin said. “They were hitting it so close on the front nine.”

Most of the offense was on the front side, with Coston turning at 13-under, one up on Porter and three in front of Christenson.

Porter and Coston had bogeys on 10. Porter went bogey-birdie-bogey on the next three holes and still trailed by one when Coston had a bogey on No. 14.

“I didn’t try too hard, sometimes that is my problem,” Coston said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. LEADERBOARD Final scores and prize money at the Rosauers Open Invitational. Jeff Coston, $12,000 65-68-66-199 Bill Porter, $7,250 67-68-67-202 Todd Erwin, $7,250 66-69-67-202 D. Christenson, $4,650 64-70-70-204 Gary Lindeblad, $4,650 68-70-66-204

2. PRO CLASSIC Some 300 tickets for today’s events at the Pro Classic golf tournament were expected to be made available this morning at the Latah Creek Tidyman’s. Tickets cost $20 and provide access to The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course for today’s events, which include a Pro-Am tournament, the Lee Trevino Clinic and the Tidyman’s Shootout. Gates open at 7 a.m. Today’s complete schedule: The Pro-Am scramble, featuring five-person teams captained by one of the Senior PGA members, starts at 8. The Lee Trevino Clinic follows the scramble. Washington Water Power will sponsor its Kids’ Clinic at 2 p.m. The six-hole Tidyman’s Shootout, featuring 17 Senior Tour professionals, will start at 3. The final event, beginning at 5, will be the Pemco Financial Services Clinic, featuring trick-shot artist Bob Brue. There will be no spectator parking on the tournament grounds, but Spokane Transit Authority will be running shuttle buses from the free public parking area at Tidyman’s Latah Creek store to Qualchan and back on Monday. Cost of a round trip shuttle ride is $1.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. LEADERBOARD Final scores and prize money at the Rosauers Open Invitational. Jeff Coston, $12,000 65-68-66-199 Bill Porter, $7,250 67-68-67-202 Todd Erwin, $7,250 66-69-67-202 D. Christenson, $4,650 64-70-70-204 Gary Lindeblad, $4,650 68-70-66-204

2. PRO CLASSIC Some 300 tickets for today’s events at the Pro Classic golf tournament were expected to be made available this morning at the Latah Creek Tidyman’s. Tickets cost $20 and provide access to The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course for today’s events, which include a Pro-Am tournament, the Lee Trevino Clinic and the Tidyman’s Shootout. Gates open at 7 a.m. Today’s complete schedule: The Pro-Am scramble, featuring five-person teams captained by one of the Senior PGA members, starts at 8. The Lee Trevino Clinic follows the scramble. Washington Water Power will sponsor its Kids’ Clinic at 2 p.m. The six-hole Tidyman’s Shootout, featuring 17 Senior Tour professionals, will start at 3. The final event, beginning at 5, will be the Pemco Financial Services Clinic, featuring trick-shot artist Bob Brue. There will be no spectator parking on the tournament grounds, but Spokane Transit Authority will be running shuttle buses from the free public parking area at Tidyman’s Latah Creek store to Qualchan and back on Monday. Cost of a round trip shuttle ride is $1.

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