PROVO — Chris Moody made a 7-inch par putt on the first playoff hole to win the 78th Provo Open at East Bay Golf Course on Saturday.
The Riverside Country Club assistant head professional and native of Provo tied two-time defending champion Dusty Fielding when Fielding sunk an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Moody, however, misunderstood how he and Fielding stood and actually congratulated Fielding on winning the tournament standing on the 18th green.
“I thought we were tied going into that final hole,” said Moody, who missed a 6-foot par putt on the par 3 No. 17. It was his only bogey of the final round of the 54-hole, three-day event, leading by two shots. Moody fired a final-round 4-under par in windy conditions to hoist the hardware.
“I was a little iffy how we stood too, going into the final hole,” said Fielding. “And I didn’t know where the others ahead of us were,” said Fielding. Then Moody congratulated him on the win.
This was not sorted out until everyone in the threesome, Moody, Fielding and Joe Summerhays, met at the clubhouse and compared scorecards.
“This feels great. I’ve never won this, and being from Provo it means a lot,” said Moody, whose 12-under finish included rounds of 67, 69 and 68, for 204. It was Moody’s first tournament win since an event in Arizona in January.
That Moody’s win came on the tricky 418-yard par four No. 10 was sweet justice for Moody, who made double bogeys on that hole on the first and second rounds — both water balls.
When told No. 10 was the playoff hole, he told Fielding, “Oh, perfect.” Fielding sarcastically said the same thing, “just what we wanted.”
Earlier in the day, Moody stood on the No. 10 tee box after going four-over par there in the tournament and hit a perfect tee shot. His approach landed within 3 feet, and he made birdie. Meanwhile, Fielding, who’d birdied, made par on the 10th previously, missed the green, chipped long and made bogey. That may have been the turning point of the tournament for the two leaders.
On the first play-off hole at the 10th, Fielding stood up and hit an iron off the tee, a strong hook that went in the left lake. After a drop, he hit a low screamer that rolled off the green in a dead zone behind the pin placed at the back edge. His lob back to the putting surface rolled 20 feet past the hole.
Moody attacked the hole that had haunted him all week, firing a safe tee shot and placing a high approach to within 8 feet for an easy two-putt win.
Summerhays, who led the tournament the first two rounds, took a one-stroke lead into Saturday’s final and shot a 1-under 71. He finished at 10-under par, good for third place.
Completing a professional-dominated scoreboard, former BYU star Jordan Rodgers finished in fourth place at 9-under. Former champion Todd Tanner was one shot back of Rodgers at 8-under. Zach Johnson finished in a three-way tie for sixth place with low amateur CJ Lee and professional Brandon Kida.
Lee, who fired three rounds of 70, won low amateur honors in this UGA player performance event by three shots over Dale Thomas who was 3 under par.
Moody said he had no idea who was leading what and assumed the group ahead of him with Rodgers and Tanner were playing well enough to win since they had a gallery that was making noise when Rodgers birdied four in a row on the back nine.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Moody of his win on No. 10.
“I hit it well all week. I gauged the win really well and hit a lot of solid shots. Except for the first two rounds with water balls on 10, I never got in trouble,” said Moody, who was 7-under par on the par five holes in the second round.
“Dusty played well today. I thought he’d won it. I congratulated him when he made the birdie on the final hole, that he’d shot five-under. He said, ‘I think we’re playing more holes.’”
Of No. 10, Fielding said he tries to hit a draw off the tee and he has hit the water before. “I’ve done that about 20 times over the years,” he said of the shot that basically handed the tournament to Moody.