Joseph Deraney, the 2018 CWI champion (CWI photo)
THE WOODLANDS, TX (May 3, 2018) - In last year's Carlton Woods Invitational, Joseph Deraney (Lexington, KY) entered the final round tied for the lead with eventual champion Justin Kaplan, but a disastrous start to the round knocked him from contention and into a disappointing and distant second-place finish.
This year, Deraney found himself in a similar position, holding a narrow one-shot lead over two-time champion Colby Harwell (San Antonio, TX). But he was able to finish it off, grinding out an even-par 72 for a two-shot win at the Fazio Course at Carlton Woods.
Related: Joseph Deraney Takes Carlton Woods Lead with 67
With scoring at record lows for the event--the 10 scores in the 60s were more than had been shot in the previous 12 years of the event combined--Deraney knew that he had to get off to a good start. Last year, he started with two doubles and two bogeys in the first five holes. Today, he came out strong, making birdie on each of the first two holes and pushing his lead to three shots.
Deraney lost a shot at the 4th but birdied the 8th to get back to 8 under for the tournament and carry a three-shot lead into the back nine.
Harwell birdied the 6th hole to get within two shots, but would fade after, as the birdies dried up and three bogeys led to a 75 that led to a fourth place finish. With Harwell falling back, it was Heath Myers (Kingfisher, OK) who became the main challenger to Deraney on the back nine.
Myers was five shots back to start the day, but playing one group ahead of Deraney, he birdied three straight holes from the 2nd to get to 4 under and four shots back. He remained four shots behind at the turn, and would go on to par every hole on the back nine to post four under.
From there, it was a matter of Deraney being able to finish.
His lead was still four on the 13th tee, but any thought of a comfortable finish vanished with three bogeys over the next four holes. Suddenly his lead was just one with two to go, but the par-5 17th gave him a chance to rebound with a short club in his hand, and he got a much-needed birdie that put him two up on the final hole. A closing par gave him a 6-under 210 total, a tournament record and a two-shot win over Myers, who finished with a 69.
"This tournament, it’s a great test of golf, and probably one of the best fields I’ll play against this year," said Deraney afterward. "You’ve got to stay patient out here because the greens are quick and you can make a lot of bogeys real quickly. But I was able to make a couple of eagles yesterday and get a good round going, and I hung in there on the last couple of holes today and got it done."
"This I my first Mid-Am of the year, and May will be a busy month for me. So this was a great way to start out the year."
2015 champion Derek Meinhart (Mattoon, IL) shot a 71 to finish alone in third a 3 under.
Another former champ, Matt Van Zandt of Houston, closed with a 69 to pull into a fourth-place tie with Harwell at 2-under 214.
In round one, three players competing in their first CWI grabbed the lead with 69s, before falling back in round two. All three had top-10 finishes, led by Ryan Eibner (Dallas, TX) in sixth at 1-under 215.
Brian Blanchard (Tempe, AZ), in his first full year as a mid-amateur, shot 75 Thursday to finish tied 8th at 1-over 217.
The third first-round co-leader was former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL analyst Tony Romo, who followed up his 69 with back-to-back 74s to tie for 8th with Blanchard.
Related: Tony Romo Shares First-Round Lead at Carlton Woods
62-year-old Brady Exber (Las Vegas, NV), who elected to play in the mid-amateur division rather than the senior, posted a 71 to finish in the top 10.
ABOUT THE Carlton Woods Invitational
A 54-hole stroke play golf
played at The Club at Carlton Woods in the
Houston community of The Woodlands,
golf is one of the top activities. Entry into the
Woods Invitational is strictly
by invitation from the Tournament Committee. The
90-player field will be
comprised of two tournament divisions, a Mid-Am
Division for players aged 25-54,
and a Senior Division for players aged 55 and above.
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