Powell Wins Match Play Invitational 1 Up
AUBURN – Both Drew Powell and Jeff Cole have been in the finals at the Match Play Invitational in the past, but neither has come out victorious in previous matches. That fate was destined to turn for one of them this morning at Fox Ridge, where the two squared off for their fifth match in three days. Despite a rough start from Powell, the 23-year old from Holden rallied to win the match 1 up after 18 holes.
After Powell made bogey on holes 2 through 6, Cole found himself 4 up. Powell was able to turn the momentum around on 7, making a 20-foot birdie putt to draw closer. After a conceded birdie on 8 when Cole made bogey, Powell made another birdie on 9 to get the match back to just 1 down. The two halved 10 and 11 with pars, and after Powell stuffed a wedge on 12 that was conceded for birdie, the match was all square.
On 14, both players were on the green with birdie looks, but an untimely three-putt from Cole gave Powell his first lead of the finals. Cole showed resilience and birdied the 15th to draw the match back to even with three to go. A couple of testy par putts fell for both on 16, and they headed to the par-5 17th still tied.
With Cole just shy of the green in two, Powell hit an aggressive iron from the right rough the barely snuck on the front edge of the green. After Cole was able to convert his 15-foot birdie putt, Powell was able to two putt for birdie to again take the lead.
The rain began to fall at Fox Ridge on the 18th tee, where both players hit their tee shots in play, but Powell hit into the left rough. He hit a nice iron shot from a testy lie onto the green, forcing Cole’s hand. Cole hit an 8-iron to 15 feet, leaving himself a downhill putt. Powell cozied up his birdie putt for a 4, and Cole had a putt to force extra holes. With some recent mist on the green, his putt came up agonizingly short on a good line, giving Powell the 1 up victory for his first MSGA individual championship title.