Daniels – Coming into the final day of the Mountain State Golf Classic, Davey Jude wasn’t worried about the five-stroke deficit in front of him. He had faced worse.
“I told my fiancé when we were driving up here today, in the Dixie Amateur, one of the top 10 amateur tournaments in the world, I was six back going into the final round,” Jude said. “Then and I said ‘today’s five back, what’s the difference?’ and she’s like ‘yeah, you can do it,’ so it was never thinking we couldn’t do it.”
That line of thinking served Jude well.
With his fiancé Auburn and son Sutton in attendance, Jude shot 3-under par Monday to win the 42nd Mountain State Golf Classic by three strokes at the Cobb Course at Glade Springs. For the tournament Jude shot 213 across three days, also good enough for 3-under.
The win was his second in the event with his last coming in 2014.
On top of his mental approach throughout the day, patience was the key for the former pro. He came out of the gate hot, birdying four times on the front nine to pull within four strokes of leader Todd Duncan.
“I actually hit a lot more shots closer,” Jude said. “All my birdies came within four feet on the frontside so it put me in pretty good position going into the backside. I missed a few on the backside but I just tried to stay patient. I’ve done this for awhile – these things happen and I’ve seen it happen before.”
Bogeys on holes 11 and 13 served as a setback for Jude as Duncan pushed his lead back to five strokes after it had dwindled to two earlier. With five holes to go Duncan held a commanding five-stroke lead, but experience came into effect.
Duncan’s spiral started when he bogeyed 14 but the worst was ahead as he triple-bogeyed 15 to yield the lead.
“I thought I hit a good one right down the middle,” Duncan said of his tee shot on 15. “I expected it to land in the fairway and I couldn’t find it and I looked over there and it was blocked off by the trees and I had no shot really. I took a nine iron and it was a bad line but I just tried to chop it out in front of the green and it came out real hot, went over the green and out of bounds and then I tried to hit it again and did the same thing but not quite as far. I didn’t manage to get it up and down so I took a triple and Davey made a birdie.”
Jude meanwhile drew on his own failures on that exact hole to guide him to a birdie opportunity.
“At the State Open somewhere between two and four years ago I was in second place coming into the second round,” Jude said. “David Bradshaw, a very well-known golfer, shot a very good first round and it was one of those things where I felt I had to go catch him. I was like five back in the second round after he played in the morning and I was like I’ve gotta keep the gas pedal down. And I tried to do that, hit one through out of bounds (on 15) and it derailed my round. I shot a couple over that day and shot a good final round, but ended up losing by a couple shots. But that was me being the person that was young and didn’t realize the patience it takes to win golf tournaments.”
Duncan, trailing by a stroke at that point, was still alive until the dust cleared on 16.
A drive off the tee landed in the fairway but his second shot sailed off the fairway and over the greens by about 50 yards. Duncan settled for a double bogey there. He had a glimmer of hope heading into 18 after Jude bogeyed 17, but Duncan returned the favor on 18, finishing tied with Pineville’s Brett Laxton for second with a tournament score of 216.
“It’s definitely a learning experience,” Duncan said. “I’ve never had something like this happen so you learn what can happen at the end of a round real quick. It’s a good thing it happened and a bad thing at the same time I guess but congrats to Davey. It was just a bad mistake and it happens, but it’s whatever, you move on.”
Rounding out the top five was 2017 champion Landon Perry along with Tanner Vest, both of whom shot 2-over for the tournament. Don Goins defended his senior championship, shooting 5-over for the tournament to edge Ted Upton by six strokes.
For a full list of final results, please visit here: Mountain State Golf Classic Final Scores
Contact Tyler Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94