By Dave Wagner
Dave Gutierrez thought he and playing partner Sid Felan could win the championship flight of the Chaparral Open Partnership best-ball tournament, but not the way they played down the stretch in Sunday’s final round.
Gutierrez, though, made a birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to give his team the victory over Portales golfers Mark Foster and Kevin Welch. Both tandems finished 36 holes with scores of 9-under-par 135.
“We played so bad on the back (nine), I didn’t think we could do it,” said Gutierrez, from Clovis. “We finally tied this on (No.) 18.”
Gutierrez and Welch each had a chance to win for their respective teams on the 18th hole, but Gutierrez missed about a 12-foot birdie putt before tapping in while Welch left a 50-foot eagle putt well short of the hole and eventually settled for par by three-putting.
Gutierrez and Felan started the day four shots out of the lead, but quickly made up the deficit on the front nine by shooting 5-under 31.
“It took quite a bit of working together as partners to get back in the game,” said Felan, who is from Muleshoe. “It was pretty tight all the way through.
“We knew we had to get off to a good start. We got some birdies and got back into it.”
The players enjoyed playing the refurbished Chaparral course.
“It was a great tournament,” Gutierrez said. “The golf course was in pretty good shape.
“I played real well all weekend. My partner struggled a little bit, but he’s a great player. This course is just so tough.”
Other flight winners were Andy Reynolds and Rustin Rowley of Portales, president’s flight; Lupe Bryan and Tommy Gonzales of Clovis, second flight; Justin and Terry Lusk of Clovis, third flight; Dee Bailey and Bob Martin of Clovis, fourth flight, and Duane and Jerad Chase of Clovis, fifth flight.
Each flight-winning tandem split $400 in prize money.