Sometimes par is good enough.
At least it was for Cody Godfrey on Sunday at Cleveland Country Club.
The former Walker Valley Mustang came home with a second round even-par 72 after shooting 3-under-par 69 Saturday to capture first place at the 10th annual Cleveland Invitational golf tournament, winning by three strokes over former Walker Valley teammate Hunter Vest.
Joe Markam (146) ended in third with Brandon Cissom and Jerod Baldwin rounding out the top five with 147.
Two birdies and a bogey on the front nine set Godfrey up for an eagle on 10. A birdie on 12 set the winner up with a comfortable lead that was good enough to survive a triple bogey on the finishing hole.
“I played really well up until my last hole, I made triple bogey. I don’t know exactly what my lead was going into the hole, but I know I had a big enough lead where it was enough to win,” said the champion. “I really just tried to get it around the front nine. I figured even par on the front would be really good and that’s what I ended up shooting.”
Vest, who recently wrapped up a first-rate college career at Lee University, finished second with rounds of 69 and 75, ending the two-day tournament with an even-par 144.
“I felt overall I played better than my 75. The greens were firm and it was playing pretty tough. I didn’t get too many putts to go my way,” he said after the grueling round.
Vest was forced to hustle early after a bogey on No. 2. Following a string of pars, Vest carded another bogey at seven and made the turn at 2-over with pars at eight and nine.
Another par at No. 10 was trumped by Godfrey’s eagle, forcing Vest to play catch-up the rest of the way.
“I hit the green in two on 10 and three-putted for par and Cody makes a long eagle. That was kind of a pretty big swing. I couldn’t get much going on the greens when I had luck,” he said.
The swing at 10 gave Godfrey the momentum needed to win the day.
“The back is where you make your hay, that’s where you make your birdies,” explained the winner. “I eagled 10, birdied 12 and kind of coasted in from there, then tripled 18,” Godfrey said through a chuckle. “That was a sloppy finish.”
The new champion said he felt like he didn’t put too much pressure on himself to finish, stating it was simply a bad swing on the tee box that led to the triple.
“I just got up on the tee and didn’t make that great of a swing, and hit it in a bad spot. It was just a sloppy hole, just careless. I played well overall, though.”
CCC general manager Lamar Mills was both relieved and excited to see the final put rattle to the bottom of the cup. Many hours of preparation and course groundskeeping preceeded the tournament that went off like clockwork.
“It was finally a great weekend of weather. There was no rain and that is a big change from last yea,r when we dealt with having to cancel the tournament after 6 inches of rain,” Mills recalled.
“There was a great field. This was our third consecutive year that the field has grown and our numbers went up. We got a lot of great feedback on the golf course. The course played tough for them this weekend. It was another tournament that went well, and I think everyone was happy.”