Army European Open: Colvin tops big-hitting Woodfox in playoff for title
Stars and Stripes August 3, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany — On a day when three-putts seemed to be the norm, Wiesbaden’s Michael Colvin two-putted for par on Sunday’s first playoff hole to win the Army European Open championship.
“None of us played very well today,” Colvin said after winning a championship he has been following since 1986 with a two-day total of 163 on the par-72 Rheinblick Golf Course layout.
“The pin positions were incredibly difficult. All of us were three-putting and four-putting.”
Colvin, who trailed Josh Woodfox, 19, of Heidelberg by a stroke at the par-5, 480-yard 18th, two-putted for birdie to force the playoff as Woodfox parred the hole.
“I thought I had lost,” Colvin said of his mind-set as he lined up his birdie putt, “but I thought I might have a chance if I made birdie.”
Colvin, the first-day leader after shooting a 79, was scrambling to protect his lead because the big-hitting Woodfox, who is about to enter his final year in German school, birdied the par-4 No. 7 and par-5 No. 9 for a front-nine 39, one shot behind Colvin at the turn.
At that point, Rheinblick bit Woodfox.
“I bogeyed No. 10 from four feet,” he said disgustedly, “and triple-bogeyed No. 11. I hit the ball to the left, and that’s not where you want to be. Ten and 11 cost me the match.”
Even though he pulled out the title, Colvin remained impressed with the youngster he said he has known since “he was in diapers out here.”
“He’s the longest hitter I’ve ever seen out here,” Colvin said.
“He regularly hits his driver 320 yards. On No. 5, he hit a three-wood over the trees and onto the temporary green. That’s 310 yards. I’ve never seen anyone do that in the summer from the blue tees. It was John Daly-esque.”
Woodfox’s booming tee shots preyed on his mind, Colvin said.
“It’s a little intimidating for a 46-year-old to see him hit the ball so long,” Colvin said.
“I kept trying to get something extra on the ball just to keep up.”
Colvin said Woodfox’s monster drives eventually lost him the match on the first playoff hole, the tricky 361-yard, par-four 17th where placement means more than distance off the tee.
“His caddy told him to use his three-iron,” Colvin said.
“He hits his three-iron farther than I hit my driver, but he said, ‘Naw, I’ll use my driver.’ ”
Woodfox subsequently pulled his drive into the trees that line the left side of the fairway.
Colvin, meanwhile, kept his tee shot in the fairway, hit an eight-iron onto the green and two-putted for par.
Woodfox made bogey, and Colvin was headed home with a trophy he’s wanted for years.
“I’ve been following this tournament — it used to be called the USAREUR championship and the Army-Europe championship — since 1986,” he said.
“I used to drive over and watch it back then when I was an 11- and 12-handicapper and had no chance to win.”
Final results from the 36-hole Army European Open golf tournament played on the par-72 Rheinblick Golf Course here (home courses or communities in parentheses). Distance for men’s open is 6,606 yards; men’s seniors is 6,239 yards; women is 5,631 yards. (x-won on first playoff hole):
MenChampionship flightx-Michael Colvin (Rheinblick) 79-84—163Josh Woodfox (Heidelberg) 82-81—163Scott Winegar (Woodlawn) 82-83—165Joe Farrell (Woodlawn) 88-79—167Paul Taylor (Rheinblick) 81-88—169Stephen Gasparovich (Spang) 88-84—172Timothy McGrath (Heidelberg) 91-84—175Brett McHaney (Swanhof) 86-89—175Roger Verville (Heidelberg) 86-91—177Domingo Alb Arana (Wdlawn) 88-90—178Russell Hargrove (Heidelberg) 95-89—184Steven Marin (Baumholder) 92-92—184Hong K. Yi (Heidelberg) 94-92—186Andrew Hendrickson (Grmsch) 94-93—187Norman Bone (Stuttgart) 92-95—187Jeffrey Yager (Grafenwoehr) 90-97—187Jay Fandel (Spangdahlem) 94-97—191John Bailey (Rheinblick) 86-WDSeniors (50 years and older)Tony Marquez (Abbighof GC) 87-85—172Dan LeFevere (Rheinblick) 90-85—175Winston Guess (Rheinblick) 92-85—177Dale Greenberg (Garmisch) 95-87—182Larry Steinman (Garmisch) 85-98—183Michael Calvanico (Bamberg) 90-96—186Louis D. Pierce (Rheinblick) 101-87—188Albert Olbeter (Heidelberg) 100-97—197Skyler Criss (Heidelberg) 98-100—198