MARSHALL- With four former Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open champions in the field, and one of those four shooting the day's low round, Max Scodro still managed to hold off the field and cap off his first championship on the Dakotas Tour Wednesday at Marshall Golf Club.
Scodro shot a 4-under 67 for a three-day score of 196 (17-under par). Despite holding the 18- and 36-hole leads, Scodro refused to let the stress get to him.
"I didn't have to stress at all because I knew I had a pretty big lead. With some steady golf, I was going to be able to close it out," Scodro said.
Photo by Travis Andries
Jon Sauer plays from the bunker on the 9th hole during Day 3 of the Dakotas Tour Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open Wednesday at Marshall Golf Club.
Success on the early holes of the golf course again worked to the benefit of Scodro, who got out to a quick start Wednesday.
"I got off to a really hot start. I birdied the first three holes and I think that kind of settled me down," Scodro said. "I wouldn't say I was nervous, but I've never really played with this big of a lead before. I didn't know... What do you do? Do you protect it? Do you try and press?
"With the two par-5s and then the short par-4 I was able to get those first three birdies, and from there on in I tried to cruise around."
Scodro earned his first tour victory while overcoming great play from his competitors, along with the stagnant heat, on a day where he, maybe, didn't play his best.
"Today I think I just played steady golf,"?Scodro said. "I didn't get quite as close to the hole as I had the past couple days, but I was able to capitalize on the shots that I did hit close. I think that was important just to give me that breathing room coming down the stretch."
Nipping at the heels of Scodro on Wednesday was 2006 Great Plains Open champion Tim Ailes. After dropping from the top of the leaderboard with a 1-over 72 on Tuesday, Ailes fired his second 64 of the tournament to finish in second place with a 54-hole total of 200 (13-under par).
Brandon Crick and Dustin Wigington tied for third place with a 54-hole score of 201. Crick came into the final day in sole possession of second place and shot a 2-under 69. Wingington's 65, however, was good enough to creep up the leaderboard and tie him with Crick. Ryan Lenahan rounded out the top five with a three-day score of 202 after posting a 67 Wednesday.
Marshall Golf Club PGA professional Ken Bramhall was impressed by the drastically-low scores shot by the competitors.
"I personally was very, very impressed with how far they drive the ball and how much shorter they make the golf course, and how much they can attack it. I think that's probably, as a general rule, their best attribute," Bramhall said.
"And then, of course, when you watch these players putt, especially when they get a little hot, when they start making putts they can really take the score low, as seen in those top 10-15 players."
The average 54-hole score for the 23 golfers who made the cut to Wednesday was just over 205, or 8-under par.
Other notable results from the tournament include 2011 Great Plains Open champion Tim Kunick, who shot a 73 on Wednesday to finish in a tie for 17th place with a total score of 208. Neil Johnson, the 2010 tournament champion, posted a 2-under 69 and finished tied for 14th place at 207. Cam White, who shared the lead after Day 1 and was alone in third place heading into Wednesday, shot even par on the day and finished in eighth place with a score of 204. Finally, 2008 champion Judd Cornell carded a 1-over 72 and finished with a 54-hole score of 206, good enough for a 12th-place tie.
Many of the golfers who competed in the Great Plains Open will head to Yankton, S.D., to continue the Dakotas Tour this weekend. Scodro will be among them.
"I'm going to play (the Marshall and Yankton tournaments) back-to-back and that will probably be it for the summer," he said.
Final Results (54-hole totals)
Max Scodro 64-65-67-196, Tim Ailes 64-72-64-200, Brandon Crick 65-67-69-201, Dustin Wigington 69-67-65-201, Ryan Lenahan 65-70-67-202, Jeff Berkshire 68-68-67-203, Ralph Baxley 67-70-66-203, Cam White 64-69-71-204, Thomas Campbell 66-69-70-205, Ryan Conn 67-68-70-205, Lucas Delgado 68-68-69-205, Judd Cornell 66-68-72-206, Brady Schnell 70-68-68-206, Charlie Holland 69-67-71-207, Ben Freeman 67-71-69-207, Neil Johnson 70-68-69-207, Tim Kunick 68-67-73-208, Andre Metzger 68-70-70-208, Tom Carlson 69-68-73-210, Anthony Brunero 70-68-72-210, Kevin Starr 67-71-73-211, Parker Pemberton 68-70-73-211, Jon Sauer 70-68-74-212.