Eldon Harvey said his 10 on No. 17 at the Butch Anderson Senior Open at Kenai Golf Course on Sunday evoked memories of Jean Van de Velde's famous collapse on the 18th hole of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.
Perhaps newly crowned British Open champion Padraig Harrington would be a more apt comparison. Because unlike Van de Velde, and like Harrington, Harvey recovered from his disastrous hole to win the tournament in a playoff and take his first Senior Open total. Harrington won a playoff with Sergio Garcia on Sunday after hitting into Barry Burn twice on the 18th to take a 6.
Riding the wave of his tournament-low 76 on Saturday at the par-72 Kenai Golf Course, Harvey had a four-shot lead over Jessie Wade and a five-shot lead over Eddie Sibolboro as the group prepared to play the par-4, 430-yard 17th.
The hole has nuked many attempts at a fine score at Kenai due to a narrow fairway with a lot of trees and dense brush both right, left and behind the green. Harvey found those trees on his second shot.
"It was a simple 8-iron," he said. "It was a simple shot for me. I hit it fat the one fat shot I hit all day."
Harvey said it took him three penalty drops to get out of the trees. From 50 yards out, he chipped to 20 feet and made the long putt for a 10.
"Out on the course, I really didn't know where I stood after 17," he said. "I didn't want to know."
Wade and Sibolboro both bogeyed the hole, giving Wade a one-shot lead over Harvey and Sibolboro going to the par-4, 344-yard 18th. Wade bogeyed the hole, while Sibolboro and Harvey both made par to set up the playoff. All finished with two-day totals of 162.
Once again, Harvey's putter was huge on the 18th, which has a two-tiered green. The pin was just at the bottom of the hill to the first tier. Harvey hit his second shot just off the back of the green . Harvey tapped his putt so it just got to the edge of the top tier, then trickled down the hill to within 2 feet of the hole.
Harvey said both Sibolboro and Wade just missed putts on the 18th that would have won the tournament.
"That's what won it for me my putting," he said.
The sudden-death playoff started on the 18th hole. Sibolboro and Harvey made par to drop Wade from the playoff. The duo went to the par-3, 126-yard 10th, where both missed birdie putts inside 15 feet, but made par. The two then returned to the 18th, where Harvey made par while Sibolboro made a high number after hitting his second shot into the gully that stretches out 120 yards in front of the green.
Harvey said prevailing in the tournament was made even more special because the event is named after Butch Anderson, who died in July 2002.
"I played with Butch for years," Harvey said. "He was a special guy."
According to course owner Gordon Griffin, Anderson was part of a group called the "Wild Bunch" that plays the course every day, teeing off at 10 and 10:10 a.m.
"He was a fun-loving guy," Griffin said. "Everybody loved him."
When Anderson died, the "Wild Bunch" decided to hold a senior tournament in his honor. The tournament is for ages 50 and above.
Wade won the overall and First Division net title with a 140. In the First Division, Sibolboro was second at 142 and Tom Reese was third at 148. In the Second Division, John Glidden was first with a net of 141, Dana Bassel was second with 144 and Max Pate was third with 147.
Butch Anderson Senior Open
at Kenai Golf Course
x-won in playoff
Sa Su Grs Net
x-Eldon Harvey 76 86 162 144
Jessie Wade 80 82 162 140
Eddie Sibolboro 82 80 162 142
Jim Bradford 87 77 164 150
Tom Reese 80 86 166 148
Don Moock 83 89 172 162
Ken Liedes 88 85 173 161
Doug Jung 91 86 177 163
Craig Jung 91 87 178 156
Doug Harelson 91 88 179 159
Dana Bassel 85 85 170 144
Bill Burtrum 87 90 177 151
Clint Reese 89 89 178 148
Max Pate 93 90 183 147
Cliff Baker 94 92 186 154
John Glidden 93 93 186 141
Rich Edwards 95 92 187 161
Keith Stuart 103 88 191 161
Pat Bowen 100 94 194 162
Jack Focose 104 117 221 181
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