Pom Arleau discovers some golf leads are safe
Bogeys on final two holes can’t spoil Royal Oaks title
Monday, June 13, 2011
It could have been easy for Kevin Pom Arleau to get down on himself Sunday after his back-to-back double-bogey finish in the final round of the Royal Oaks Invitational.
Then again, all he would have to do to smile again is remind himself that he had a comfortable lead.
While it was far from a casual stroll to victory down the 17th and 18th fairways, Pom Arleau won the 55th edition of the Invite at Royal Oaks Country Club.
Pom Arleau, a former touring pro from Wenatchee who regained his amateur status last year, was the lone player in the field to break par during the three-day tournament, settling for a 2-under-par 214.
“Pretty cool. I’ve never played in this tournament,” Pom Arleau, 41, said. “A good tournament. A great tournament, actually. It’s a real test of golf.”
Eric Grimberg of Portland, who began the day tied for the lead with Pom Arleau, finished second at 1-over after a final-round 77.
Landon Banks, Kasey Young, and Tyler Simpson all tied for third at 2-over-par.
Pom Arleau never trailed in the final round, taking the lead for good when Grimberg bogeyed the sixth hole. Birdies for Pom Arleau on the 11th, 13th, and 16th holes ballooned the lead to six strokes.
For much of the day, Pom Arleau said he had no idea who was leading and where others in front of him had stood. But he caught a glimpse at a standard bearer’s score just after the 16th hole.
“Everybody’s numbers were black. I kind of had an idea,” Pom Arleau said. “That was the first time I really looked, which was stupid.”
He found trouble on the 17th, then again on the 18th.
“I managed to go the whole week without a double...”
No matter. He had a two-foot putt for his double on the 18th — and had two strokes to spare.
Pom Arleau said this is only his second big tournament since February of 2008.
It took him two years to regain his amateur status.
Last summer, he reached the round of 16 in the U.S. Mid-Amateur. This season, he is looking to build his amateur résumé, and earn a trip to the U.S. Amateur and a return to the U.S. Mid-Am.
“This was a great experience,” he said, adding that he hopes to be back in 2012 to defend his Royal Oaks title.
Brett Johnson, a junior from Ridgefield who recently won the Class 1A state high school championship, was at even-par after a birdie on the 14th, tied for third four strokes off the lead. The 17-year-old struggled in the final four holes, but still enjoyed the weekend.
“It’s great. You get to see much more competition with some really good college players,” Johnson said.
He noticed that he was among the leaders late in the round.
“I don’t really know how I got here, but I’ll keep trying to do what I’ve been doing,” Johnson recalled thinking. “Unfortunately I didn’t finish that strong. That happens when you start to think about your score.”
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