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New-look Indian Canyon awaits another strong Rosauers Open field

UPDATED: Tue., July 16, 2019

Four-time champion Corey Prugh is among many contenders at the 2019 Rosauers Open Invitational this week at Indian Canyon. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Four-time champion Corey Prugh is among many contenders at the 2019 Rosauers Open Invitational this week at Indian Canyon. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Indian Canyon has made big changes since hosting the Rosauers Open Invitational last July.

The course’s original irrigation from the 1930s was replaced, beginning last September and concluding this spring. A handful of greens were reworked. The upgrades required significant mending time, causing frustration for some customers.

It also caused concern about the Canyon’s condition for the 32nd edition of the Rosauers, which begins Wednesday with a two-day pro-am followed by the 54-hole tournament, one of four majors on the PGA Pacific Northwest Section circuit.

“I know it was rough and it was hard to believe it would grow out and we’d be able to host it but our guys have worked diligently to get this done,” Indian Canyon pro Doug Phares said. “It was about two weeks ago when our superintendent told me he was confident about hosting the tournament.

“It changed day to day and somebody that played the course three weeks ago played a different course than today. Everybody that’s played it in the last 10 days has said it’s great.”

Several revamped greens, a new deeper tee box on the drivable par-4 17th and the new irrigation system present new wrinkles for a strong field stocked with the usual collection of top regional pros and amateurs.

“The course looks pretty good,” said four-time Rosauers champion Corey Prugh, who played Indian Canyon twice last week. “The irrigation lines are clean, the slightly adjusted greens look good and playable.”

Contours on the fifth and 17th greens were “softened up so balls don’t go off the green like before,” Phares said.

Phares noted that the newer greens look a little different because the sod came from several places “but they putt really well.”

The biggest change could be the rough.

“It’s getting water like it never did before,” Phares said. “It’s growing really fast and we’re not mowing it anymore this week. Especially around the greens, it’s going to make the players think.”

The new tee box on No. 17 added nearly 40 yards to stretch the hole to 305. Sectional officials will determine how many times the new box is used this weekend.

“Makes that hole a complete lay up, at least for me, which is fine,” Prugh said.

Prugh’s streak of titles in odd-numbered years (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015) ended two years ago when Brady Sharp won in a playoff over Russell Grove, sectional player of the year in 2017 and 2018.

Past champions entered include Tim Feenstra (2014), David Phay (2012), Kyle Kelly (2010), Jeff Coston (1997, 2006 and 2008), Ryan Benzel (2005) and Rob Gibbons (1991).

Shane Prante, champion of the Washington Open in May, and amateur Reid Hatley, a former Ferris Saxon who won the Oregon Open in a playoff last month, figure to be contenders. Five of the top six finishers at the Oregon Open were amateurs.

Former Washington State University standout Derek Bayley, who won the Rosauers in 2016 and 2018 as an amateur, is playing on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada.

Phares offered a lengthy list of favorites, including past champs, 2019 major winners Hatley and Prante and several top amateurs.

“It’s a strong field,” he said. “It’s pretty open. I’m interested to see who it’s going to be.”

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