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Riding bogey-free 65, Gove wins the Washington Open Invitational

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on May 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm with No Comments »
May 23, 2012 6:54 pm

BELLEVUE – Seattle’s Jeff Gove thinks he has one more surge in him to return to the PGA Tour.

Currently, the longtime veteran is languishing on the Nationwide Tour. He turns 41 on Monday. This season, he has made just three cuts in nine tournaments. The 2005 Oregon Classic was his last victory.

That is, until Wednesday – at the 86th Washington Open Invitational.

Gove ended the event at Glendale Country Club in impressive fashion – no bogeys over his final 32 holes – and shot a 6-under-par 65 in the final round to cruise to victory.

He finished the three-round tournament at 13-under 200 – good enough for a tournament-record 11-strokes victory over Jeff Coston (73), Tim Feenstra (73) and Corey Prugh (69) at 211.

Olympia’s Andres Gonzales, one of the money leaders on the Nationwide Tour, closed with a 72 to finish in a tie for fifth with Mike Roters at 212.

But the day belonged to Gove, a local favorite who opened the final round with three birdies in a row, including a dramatic one on the par-4 third hole.

His drive was stuck behind a tree on the right. From 135 yards, he cut a 7-iron onto the green, and sank a 35-foot putt for birdie.

“A Bubba (Watson) shot,” Gove said with a wide smile. “I had to cut it 20 yards.”

For a second consecutive year, Gonzales played in the biggest professional tournament his home state has to offer. Last year, he placed third. And heading into the back nine holes Wednesday, he was in good position to finish second.

But he started with a bogey on the 10th hole. And two holes later, he missed a short putt for par. Those 31/2-footers plagued him the rest of the way.

NOTES: The last time Gove – the 1995 Washington Open Invitational winner – played in this event was 2002 at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent. … Gonzales made $3,750, and announced afterward that all money he earns at this event from here on out will be donated to the tournament’s primary charity – Camp Korey. … Other local finishers Wednesday included Port Orchard’s Brady Sharp (ninth alone at 215); Sumner’s Brian Thornton (tied for 10th at 216); and Tacoma’s Derek Barron (tied for 12th at 217), Chris Griffin (tied for 19th at 219) and Taylor Ferris (tied for 39th at 226).

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