KENT – After finally overtaking the home-course favorite with a few holes remaining, there was still work left to do for John Cassidy of Alderbrook Golf and Yacht Club in Union.
Because unknown to him, Mitch Runge of Tacoma Country Club was playing the round of his life three groups ahead, firing a 66 to finish at 7-under 215 Wednesday in the Washington Open at Meridian Valley Country Club.
To win, Cassidy had to make a par or better on the par-5 final hole, which he found out when he got to the 18th tee. A par was far from certain when his third shot went about 35 feet above the hole, leaving him with a big breaking putt that would take all of his skill.
Cassidy played about 10 feet of break on the first putt, the ball gently trickling about 4 feet below the hole, where Cassidy confidently sank the putt for the one-shot victory and the $6,000 winner’s check.
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“That first putt was not what I wanted to see when I got up there (on the 18th green),” said Cassidy, who won the state 3A high-school championship for Yelm as a freshman in 1997. “I just wanted to leave myself some sort of makeable, uphill putt.”
For a player who missed three putts inside 6 feet on his final nine, including a 2-footer on his 10th hole, he showed no nerves on the final putt.
“The way I looked at it, any time you have a putt to win a tournament, it’s a good thing,” said Cassidy, who played collegiately at Nevada and spent four years on the Canadian PGA Tour.
Michael Haack, the assistant restaurant manager at Meridian Valley, had an enthusiastic crowd urging him on after entering the final round with a two-shot lead. He was still tied for the lead going into the difficult 15th hole. While Cassidy hit an incredible approach from 152 yards to 2 feet for a birdie, Haack three-putted and was suddenly down by two.
“That’s golf,” said Haack, who finished alone in third at 5 under after a 76, and appreciated all the support he got. “The members here were great. I love working here.”