Russell Grove adhered to what professional golfers aspire to in order to win.
He sunk the majority of his putts from within 5 feet of the cup and it was one of the critical steps he took in rallying past Corey Prugh to win the 50th edition of the Lilac City Invitational at The Fairways this past weekend.
Grove stayed steady and shot a final-round 64 and four-day 270 while Prugh faltered a bit with a 69 to finish at 273.
“I sunk my putts from five feet or less,” the Hayden, Idaho resident and former University of Idaho Vandal said after accepting the Joe Durgan Trophy, named in honor of the founder of the tournament that began its run in 1960.
Grove, the assistant pro at Avondale in Hayden, got to within two shots of Prugh when he birdied the par-4, 370-yard 10th. That’s how it stayed until the 15th, a 415-yard par-4. While Grove birdied the hole, Prugh bogeyed it and that tied it.
His 5-foot putt on 18 after a brilliantly placed approach shot won him the $5,000 first-place money following an 18-under tournament score. Prugh, a Manito Golf and Country Club assistant pro, collected $3,000.
Starting the day three shots behind then leader Jason Humphrey in the fourth and final round of the 72-hole tournament, Grove mirrored a pair of 32s on both the front and back nines for an 8-under par 64, the low round of the tournament.
Humphrey recorded a 72 Sunday and a four-round total of 275 to tie 2012 winner Hank Frame who was again the top amateur finisher, both five strokes back.
Grove started out with a solid round of 67 on the first day, this despite blustery conditions. “It was windy so I’d probably say it was the toughest day,” Grove said.
“I didn’t do anything real great out there but it’s a short enough course,” Grove said. “If you leave yourself the right spot, inside 10 feet, that’s what I did.”
Friday, Grove shot a 68, but Saturday, he admitted, “Was probably the day I struggled the most. I just couldn’t get anything going.” A couple of bad lies cost him Saturday, he said.
His best part of his game was driving, and of course putting. Where Grove faltered came in his chipping, “Getting the touch.”
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.