SCOTTSDALE, AZ (May 13, 2018) - Dennis Bull (Norwalk, IA) and Andrew Price (Lake Bluff, IL) scored an unlikely victory at the National Invitational at Whisper Rock, coming from 9 shots behind to win by a single shot.
Starting the day, Bull and Price were 6 under and in fifth place. The leaders, Tony Romo and Drew Stoltz, were 15 under and two-time champions Ben Hayes and Taylor Wood were second at 11 under. The odds were high that the winners would come out of the final group.
There were low scores to be had in the final round. Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer and his partner Creighton Honeck shot 66 in the best-ball format to pull into the top 10. Mike Dupuy and Justin Miller did them one better with a 65, pulling into a tie for 7th with Dilfer/Honeck and two other teams at 9 under. Kenny Coakley and Warren Vickers also shot a 65 to get into a tie for fourth at 12 under.
Andrew Price and Dennis Bull (WRGC photo)
Bull and Price shot the round of the day, an 8-under 64, to post 14 under in the clubhouse and wait and see what the last two groups would do.
They caught a break--of the four teams in the final two groups, only one would break 70. Scott Anderson and Hoyt McGarity started the day tied for third at 9 under but their final-round 68 was one shot short of the clubhouse leaders. Their playing partners, Andrew Medley and Brad Shaw, could only manage a 70 and a solo sixth place finish at 11 under.
That left the final group. Romo and Stoltz, whose rounds of 63-66 gave them a four-shot lead, shot a disappointing 2-over 74 and fell back to 13 under, one shot behind. Hayes and Wood could not take advantage of the opening, managing only a 71 that left them tied for fourth at 12 under.
In their first win at the National at Whisper Rock, Bull and Price shot rounds of 66-72-64 for a 14-under 202 total.
Gene Elliott and David Nelson (WRGC photo)
In the Senior Division, Gene Elliott (W. Des Moines, IA) made it two Iowa champions, partnering with David Nelson (Reno, NV) and defeating Ken Kellaney and Joe Sposi in a playoff.
Elliott and Nelson had a slim one shot lead over two teams when the day started, and the contest was close throughout. In the end, four teams were within one shot of each other.
Kellaney and Sposi closed with a 3-under 69, while Elliott and Nelson had a 70 to finish at 11 under par. Brady Exber and Bill Jackson, starting the day one shot back, also shot 70 and finished one shot out of the playoff.
Jeff Burda and Bob Kain shot the low round of the tournament, a 7-under 65, to get to 10 under, tied with Exber/Jackson for third.
Jeff New and Owen Joyner finished tied for 7th at 7 under in defense of the title they won a year ago. Two-time champions Jerry Hudgins and Mike Rice finished 11th at 5 under.
ROUND TWO RECAP
Tony Romo and Drew Stoltz shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to extend their lead to four shots with one round to go at the National Invitational at Whisper Rock. The former NFL quarterback and the former TCU golfer are 15 under for 36 holes.
Two-time champions Ben Hayes and Taylor Wood, who won in 2014 and 2016, are in position to take a run at a third title, shooting 66 to get to 11 under.
Scores were higher in round two, with only 6 scores in the 60s, led by Andrew Medley and Brad Shaw with a 65 that pulled them into a tie for third at 9 under with Scott Anderson and Hoyt McGarity (70).
The tougher scoring conditions led some of the teams featuring former professional athletes to tumble down the leaderboard. Brett Hull (NHL), Toni Kukoc (NBA) and Mark Mulder/Nick Punto (MLB) were all in contention after round one but none of their teams could break par in round two. They are now all at least ten shots behind the leaders.
In the Senior Division, Gene Elliott and David Nelson shot a 5-under 67 to get to 9 under and take a one-shot lead over Brady Exber and Bill Jackson, who had the low round of the day, a 66. First-round leaders Ken Kellaney and Joe Sposi are also just one shot back after shooting 70 in round two.
The defending champs Jeff New and Owen Joyner are tied for fourth at 4 under after a 71 on Firday.
ROUND ONE RECAP
The leaderboard at the National Invitational at Whisper Rock is littered with former professional athletes who have taken up amateur golf, led by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo with partner Drew Stoltz.
Romo and Stultz shot 9-under 63 at Whisper Rock GC and have opened up a two-shot lead over the team of Scott Anderson and Hoyt McGarity.
Players from the four major sports--football, baseball, basketball and hockey--are represented in the top 10 after round one.
Brett Hull, the fourth-highest scorer in National Hockey League (NHL) history, teamed with Chris Stutts to shoot 6-under 66, three shots behind the leaders in a tie for third.
Also at 66 is Toni Kukoc, who won three NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan, and his partner Ben Herman.
Former Major League Baseball players Mark Mulder (pitcher) and Nick Punto (infielder) are part of a group tied for 9th at 4 under.
Scoring was good in the Mid-Amateur division, with 15 scores in the 60s and 26 scores under par.
The defending champions in the event, Tyler Crawford and Joe Sanders, are tied for 16th after a 2-under 70.
Ken Kellaney and Joe Sposi shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead over Casey Boyns and Kevin Kobalter. Gene Elliott and David Nelson are tied for third at 3 under with Dave Delich and Rick George.
The defending champs Jeff New and Owen Joyner are tied for fifth after an opening round of 3-under 69.