By Doug Roberson
ATLANTA, GA (July 2, 2011) – The round- and tournament-saving shot is one he practices, but Nate McCoy said the result was still a little bit lucky.
Sitting in the rough to the left of the fairway and 168 yards from the green on the par-4 No. 4, McCoy hit a low, running 5-iron that skipped along the fairway, got a skimming boost from the cart path that crossed the fairway and rolled to within 25 feet of the pin. He made the par putt, followed with another par and then rolled off four consecutive birdies that propelled him to 22 under and the Dogwood Invitational tournament championship at the Druid Hills Golf Club on Saturday.
McCoy, who will be a senior at Iowa State, shot a final-round 7-under 65 to edge Bobby Wyatt, who matched him with a 65 to take second (20 under), and third-round leader Luke Guthrie, who shot a 72 to finish third (16 under).
“This was my first big win and one of my best finishes ever,” said McCoy, who was playing in his third Dogwood. He missed the cut in his first and finished 17th last year. “This is kind of a surreal experience. I didn’t think I would be in this position.”
He struggled at the beginning, bogeying the first hole to fall to 14 under, two shots behind Guthrie, who missed a short birdie putt.
However, McCoy caught Guthrie, at 17 under, with a birdie on the par-5 seventh. Guthrie’s birdie chance hit the back of the cup and rattled out.
Perhaps shaken by his string of missed chances, Guthrie watched McCoy stick his 4-iron to within a few feet on the 210-yard par-3 eighth. Guthrie followed by sending his tee shot over the green, leaving a tough downhill chip that had to go over a mound on the back of the green to get near the pin, which was tucked into the back. His chip went long, and he missed the comeback putt to fall to 16 under.
McCoy poured in his birdie putt for a two-shot swing that pushed him to 18 under.
“It was a frustrating day for me,” said Guthrie, who plays for Illinois. “The last two days I couldn’t get any putts to go in.”
As both golfers made a birdie on the par-5 ninth, Wyatt, playing two groups ahead, began to make his move. Missing too many putts on the front nine, he made six birdies on the back to reach 20 under.
With McCoy still needing to play the tough 17th and 18th holes, Wyatt missed a chance to apply a final bit of pressure when his downhill 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 slid past the hole.
“I missed a lot of putts that really needed to go in [on the front],” Wyatt said. “I made the putts I needed to on the back, but Nate played some good golf coming in.”
McCoy didn’t try to sit on his lead, adding birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 16 to hit 22 under.