Closing 67 Gives Fields First eGolf Tour Title
It wasn’t exactly Bubba Watson at the Masters, but for Jack Fields it must have felt almost as good.
Fields, of Southern Pines, pulled his tee shot on the 72nd hole of the eGolf Tour’s Columbia Open into the left woods, hit a masterful punch-hook wedge shot off the pine needles, and converted a clutch two-putt par from the back fringe to post a final-round 67 and win his first career eGolf Tour title and payoff of $25,000.
Fields entered Saturday’s final round at Columbia Country Club trailing 54-hole co-leaders Michael Maness and Nick Taylor by two shots following rounds of 67-62-72—201. A late stumble on Friday, featuring bogeys on four of his last five holes, took the former UNC standout from in the lead to trailing overnight. The late quartet of bogeys, however, had little effect on Fields in the final round.
Fields started with a flourish, hitting a 195-yard 7-iron on the par-5 third to set up an early eagle that took him to 16 under par. A birdie at the par-5 seventh was offset by a bogey at the tough par-4 ninth, and Fields’ outward nine of 2-under 34 left him trailing Maness by two and Taylor by one.
“There were a lot of birdies to be made out there, so I knew I had to keep it up on the back nine,” the 22-year-old Fields said. “All week long, I felt very comfortable on these greens, so it was really just a matter of giving myself some looks.”
After pars on 10 and 11, Fields striped a perfect 3-wood on No. 12, said “be the one” just loud enough for playing partners to hear, and watched as his flawless approach settled six feet from the hole.
There was never a doubt about the eagle putt as it found the hole to take him to 18-under and into control.
“I was watching scoreboards all day,” Fields said. “I knew after I eagled 12 that I had a good chance, but I felt like I needed one more birdie.”
Pars on 13 and 14 left him at 18-under, but in a tie with Josh Brock of Wilmington, who had birdied the short par-4 13th.
Fields got that coveted birdie at the par-5 15th, — giving him a 6-under-total for the four par-5s and a one-stroke lead. He holed a clutch eight-foot par putt on 16 and two-putted the 17th for par, leading to the final-hole heroics from the trees.
When playing companion Alan Wagner of Argentina blocked his tee shot right and out-of-bounds on the narrow closing hole, Fields figured he might have problem.
“When I saw Alan’s ball sail out-of-bounds right, I knew I was probably going to miss my tee shot left, and I did,” he said after pulling his tee shot into the left trees.
Fields played a perfect wedge shot that landed pin-high and settled 20 feet past the hole. Needing two putts to get in with the lead, he ran his birdie putt four feet above the hole, then rolled it in for the 67.
“I had a little more on that birdie putt than I wanted,” he said, “but I had putted aggressively all week, and that wasn’t going to change. For whatever reason, I was confident running my putts past the hole this week.
“It feels great, it really does,” he said. “I put in a lot of work this offseason with my coach and it’s nice to see that it really paid off.”
Fields’ coach is Scott Davenport, director of golf at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte – site of the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I’ve been real fortunate to spend time around Webb Simpson and Johnson Wagner, both members at Quail Hollow,” said Fields. “To watch their short games, and how much time they spend practicing chipping and putting, was huge for me. It gave me some added focus on what I needed to work on, and it’s finally paying dividends.”
The $25,000 check moved Fields up to No. 7 on the tour’s money list, with $29,595 in earnings thus far on the year.
The win also further solidified Fields’ decision to turn professional last fall prior to PGA TOUR Q-School. The former amateur star had notched wins at the 2011 North & South Amateur, the 2011 Carolinas Open, the 2009 Carolinas Amateur and the 2008 North Carolina Amateur, prior to giving the pro ranks a shot.
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