Jerry Gruidl grinds out third Resorters title
The two-time Men's Division winners takes his first Resorters Tournament championship in the Grand Master Division by sinking a long putt on the 18th.
“I can’t make it from three feet on 16, and then, this.”
That’s what Resorters Grand Masters champion Jerry Gruidl said after winning his match against Mike Golden on the 18th green.
The “this” Gruidl was referring to was a long putt that gave him his first Grand Masters trophy, which he’ll add to his two Men’s Division titles (1977 and 1994).
The match was a rollercoaster ride for Golden. Down by two going into 15, Golden tried to mount a comeback, winning 15 with par to draw to within one and halving 16 when Gruidl missed a short birdie putt.
The match appeared to be over on No. 17 when Golden ended up in the bunker and Grudil was sitting pretty on the green. Golden got out of the sand but was looking at a long par putt. His ball rattled the pin and dropped straight in, getting a roar from the gallery. Gruidl was also able to make par, sending the match to the 18th with Gruidl clinging to a 1-up lead.
They both drove to within five feet of each other. Gruidl’s second shot landed in the rough near the sand trap, leaving him with a difficult chip. In full concentration mode, Gruidl was about to hit the ball when a loud group from another hole passed by, causing Gruidl to reset. He brushed off the interruption and got on the green but was still looking at a long par putt.
Golden’s birdie try came within an inch or two of dropping in the cup so now he could only watch and hope for Gruidl to bogey, which was possible because Gruidl was about 15 feet away, looking at a tricky downhill putt for par.
Gruidl sank the pressure putt to tie the hole and close the match, 1-up.
Gruidl never trailed in the contest. He won Nos. 1 and 3 with par and No. 7 with birdie while holding Golden to one winner, a par on the 8th hole.
Leading by two at the turn, Gruidl put the pressure on, winning No. 10 with par. Golden won No. 12 with a par when Gruidl’s putter faltered.
“I didn’t make a putt all day – except for that last one,” Gruidl said.
Golden said his 7-wood failed him throughout the round but was delighted that the match was an exciting one – and the farthest he’d advanced in the Resorters.
“I came up just a hair short,” he said.