Farmington • A sense of desperation drove James Drew to the Utah Open title Sunday, overcoming a four-shot lead on the back nine to win by two.
The same desperation hung over Dusty Fielding — who couldn’t quite keep his game together on the back nine of the Oakridge Country Club course — as well as many in the field who saw their finances take a major blow when the GolfWeek National Pro Tour recently folded.
For Drew, a father of two young boys, winning the king-size $20,000 first-place check meant everything.
"I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell my sponsor while I was driving home tonight that I was probably going to pack it up for the year," said the Las Vegas resident, wiping away tears. "So now I don’t have to."
Drew, out at least $30,000 in prize money and lost entry fees, wasn’t worried about playing anywhere next week. If he didn’t finish among the top four, there wasn’t going to be a next week.
The same was true for Fielding, looking at another $5,500 plus expenses to compete in the PGA Tour’s Q-School in a couple weeks.
"It devastated me financial-wise," a disappointed Fielding said. "I was just trying to work my way back up. There was a lot of pressure to make money this week."
Unfortunately for Fielding, who began the day two shots to the clear at 14-under par and made the turn at 18-under with a four-shot lead, the pressure changed his swing.
The St. George resident missed fairways and was forced to make pars instead of birdies. Fielding bogeyed No. 14 and, with Drew in the clubhouse with a one-shot lead, forced his tee shot on 18, sending his drive into a practice bunker. He couldn’t recover and bogeyed the final hole.
Moments earlier, Drew had caught fire, birdieing the last three holes, including an 18-footer on No. 17 — a tough par four he had previously bogeyed twice. Drew then buried a 25-foot putt for bird on 18.
"I was hitting it good and the putts came when I needed them," said Drew, who compared this win to his first ever. "I won 36 grand and at the time I was broke, kind of like now, so they both feel special in the same kind of way."
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