Firecracker goes to fourth day with three tied for lead
Westlake’s Nolen, TCU twosome are in contention today
For the second straight year, the Firecracker Open’s Sunday round went into the evening and ended in darkness.
For the second year in a row, it will be Monday before the champion is determined.
And for the second year in a row, Scott Roudebush is in the mix.
A year ago Roudebush ended regulation play tied for the lead with Matt Smith. After six holes of a playoff it was too dark to continue. They resumed the playoff Monday morning and Roudebush won on the eighth hole of overtime.
This time, they didn’t get that far on Sunday. The tournament that was already shortened to 36 holes because of Friday’s rain finished Sunday with Roudebush, Jordan Wolfe and Stratton Nolen tied at 6-under par 136.
Roudebush, Wolfe and Nolen will tee it up today at 10 a.m., for another sudden death playoff.
Roudebush started Sunday tied for the lead at 6-under 65 with Cole Moreland. Wolfe was in a group at 4-under 67 and Nolen was another shot back at 68.
Among the three in the playoff, Nolen had the best of it Sunday. The Westlake High School sophomore turned in a 3-under par 68 to follow an opening round of 68. Wolfe followed his opening 67 with a 69 Sunday to get in the house at 136 with Nolen, while Roudebush was still on the course.
Roudebush clung to the lead most of Sunday. He made par on the first eight holes but hit his approach to three feet on the ninth to get to 1-under on the day, and 7-under for the championship.
A bogey on the par-3 13th put Roudebush back to 6-under, but he birdied the 14th and made par at 15 to continue to hold the lead at 7-under.
On the infamous par-4 16th, Roudebush had some bad luck when his approach hit the cart path left of the green and bounced back almost 100 yards into heavy shrubbery. He had to take a drop and ended up with a double bogey six and out of the lead at 5-under.
Roudebush responded by sticking his tee shot on the par3 17th to three feet and nailing birdie to get back to 6-under. He narrowly missed a 20-foot putt for birdie on the 18th — which would have clinched the title, but the putt slid by the cup and forced today’s playoff.
Wolfe is a 2009 TCU graduate, a former Horned Frog teammate of Roudebush — and a house guest of Roudebush this week. Nolen was a member of Westlake’s state championship team last spring and won the 14-and under division in the 2009 Texas State Junior Championship.
Twenty-six payers shot under par in the opening round, and Roudebush figured it would take 10 or 11 under par to win Sunday.
“If you had told me I would shoot 71 today and still be in this, I would have said ‘no way’,” he said. “I thought the birdie at No. 9 would get me going, but then we had a long delay at the turn and I just seemed to lose momentum. None of us really seemed to get anything going today.”
Defending tournament champion Scott Roudebush chips onto the eighth green during the final round of the Firecracker Open.