Corey Prugh has won four Rosauers Open Invitational titles, but he might have outdone himself for sheer drama with his latest triumph Sunday at Indian Canyon.
That’s saying something because Prugh established the tournament record of 21-under 192 in 2009, he had a hole-in-one and an eagle on No. 18 to overtake Tim Feenstra in 2011 and he birdied No. 17 for a one-shot victory in 2013.
What did it take this time? A fortunate kick off a tree on No. 18, a gorgeous 3-wood and a clutch 9-foot birdie putt – seconds after Derek Barron had coaxed in a tough 25-footer for eagle – for Prugh to dig out a one-stroke victory.
Barron’s putt forced Prugh to make his uphill attempt or the two would have been in a playoff.
“I got a little lucky on the tee shot on 18, I got a little tree,” said Prugh, who shot his second straight 7-under 64 to finish 18-under 195. “I was joking to my wife, I don’t think I’ve ever had to hit 3-wood into this green before. It was 256 (yards out) and it was probably one of the better swings I made all day.
“When he buries that putt, I better triple my focus all of a sudden. That was tough. I was very happy to see (the ball) turn into the hole.”
Prugh held off a back-nine charge from three-time winner Jeff Coston and a late charge from Barron, who entered the day with a two-shot lead. Prugh, an assistant pro at Manito, earned $11,000. The long-hitting Barron, an instructor at Tacoma Golf Center, closed with a 67 for 17-under 196.
Coston, from Blaine, Washington, bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 and finished at 15 under. Former Ferris standout Eric Ansett was the low amateur and tied for fourth at 199. He capped his 66 with a birdie-eagle-birdie finish.
The tournament raised $135,000 for the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, bringing the 28-year total to $2.6 million.
The battle between Prugh and Barron heated up on the last three holes. Barron scrambled to make par at No. 16 while Prugh made his first bogey since Friday, trimming Prugh’s lead to three.
On the 245-yard 17th, Prugh’s deft shot from a green-side bunker trickled 3 feet from the hole. Barron’s downhill 25-footer for eagle stopped rolling 10 inches short. Prugh’s slippery birdie putt lipped out, and his lead was two.
On No. 18, Barron bombed a 3-wood and hit 6-iron from 178 to the left edge. Prugh’s tee ball hooked left but clipped a tree and bounced back in the fairway. His 3-wood rolled through the green and he chipped 9 feet past the cup.
It looked like all Prugh would need was a two-putt but Barron applied the pressure by making his eagle putt, which had at least five feet of break. Barron said he made a few similar putts earlier this week that “broke off this side of the planet.”
“We sat down at the scorer’s table and Corey goes, ‘What the heck are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,’” laughed Barron, who fired a course-record 59 in Wednesday’s pro-am. “It was a blast to finish that way.
“I played pretty solid golf for five days. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t win but I can’t complain. Corey just outplayed me today.”
Coston, who returns to the Champions Tour in two weeks, birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12, the latter moving him to 16 under and temporarily atop the leaderboard. One group behind, Prugh hit the fairway on the par-5 12th and knocked his approach from 200-plus yards within 10 feet. His eagle putt just caught the left edge and dropped, putting him back in front to stay.
“I was pretty darn clean, just the one bad shot (tee ball on No. 16 that led to bogey),” Prugh said.
“I was thinking if I can make (birdie) on one of these last two holes I can do this. That was one of the scariest 3-footers I’ve ever had (on 17). Had to play it out of the hole and you have to hit it soft. Without going in, lipping out was about the best thing that could have happened because if it would have missed it would have (rolled) forever.”
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