One putt provided quite a thrill at Guru Open
Dominic Rosacci recalled the previous best prize he'd won while golfing.
He was closest to the pin on a tricked-up hole designed to give players a good chance at a hole-in-one. PVC pipe lined one side of a green at Grand Elk Golf Course in Granby, Colo., funneling tee shots to the hole.
Rosacci didn't make it, but he was a couple feet away and earned the KP and $15 credit in the pro shop.
Last Saturday, the 26-year-old Coloradoan improved on that by $9,985.
He sank a 50-foot, 6-inch putt during the second annual Guru Open at Eagle Point Golf Club, winning $10,000 and gaining instant celebrity at the two-day event.
The contest was set up on the course putting green, and players tried to qualify for the finals as they came by during their rounds.
Those who made putts to two different holes advanced for a chance at the big prize, and two were successful.
Two others — Rosacci included — earned their way in via a raffle.
When his name was called, Rosacci “was pumped. I was excited.”
He owns a screen printing business in Denver similar to Guru Ink in Medford, the sponsor of the tournament that raises money for Kids Unlimited.
Rosacci's company and Guru Ink have a common supplier, and the business associate brought him in for the tournament for the second straight year.
Rosacci plays a lot and admits he isn't the greatest golfer.
“But I make up for it in effort,” he said.
His handicap at Eagle Point was 26.
As for his putting prowess, it's more of the same.
“It's probably the same as my golf, man,” he said. “Its golf. Sometimes it's excellent. Sometimes it feels like you can't make a putt if your life depended on it and you feel like you should quit golf.”
In the finals, with a large crowd ringing the putting green, Rosacci went first, followed by the other raffle winner, then the two qualifiers.
Rosacci was at a distinct disadvantage. He didn't get to see the line while the others were allowed to watch the putts before them. Also, he had taken his clubs to the house his group rented on the course and didn't want to go back to get his putter, so he borrowed one.
“I thought, 'No way this is going to happen,'” he said. “With all the pressure, I thought I was going to chunk it into the ground and the ball would go about 3 feet.
“I was pretty shocked at how it played out.”
Dusk settled in and made it hard to see the hole. Rosacci read little break and tried to putt it on a straight line.
He focused on keeping his head down, a tip from his grandpa, who also is an avid golfer.
“He has this photo of my cousin,” said Rosacci. “It was taken of him when he was putting. He hit the ball and his head was down and the ball was about 15 feet in front of him. So the only thing I was thinking about was keeping my head down. This was important. I never played with that kind of pressure before.”
He gave it a swipe, and the ball carried over a slight ridge toward the hole. Eagle Point head pro Patrick Oropallo tended the flag, pulling it as the ball neared the cup. The crowd, tracking its progress, went from shouts of encouragement to a robust roar when the ball tumbled into the hole.
Jason Hanlin, the tournament director, videoed it. But the picture stopped abruptly when the ball disappeared.
“He lost control,” said Rosacci, who couldn't tell the putt broke slightly to the right because his head remained down.
He wanted to hurry to see the ball resting in the cup but instead was mobbed by onlookers.
The other three finalists got their turns but didn't duplicate Rosacci's feat.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Rosacci.
Maybe. He'll be back for the tournament next year and might get another chance.
Rosacci wasn't the only winner in the Guru Open. The big winner was Kids Unlimited, which will receive more than $10,000 in proceeds.
Robert McCumber didn't do too badly, either, even though he didn't play. McCumber, who lives in Huntington Beach, Calif., and owns a home in Rogue River, saw the tournament's online raffle for a GolfBoard, an electric skateboard designed to hold a golf bag and zip a player around the course.
He bought $300 worth of tickets and won the $6,500 board.
“Not a bad investment,” said Hanlin.
McCumber doesn't play much golf, but he surfs, said Hanlin, adding that McCumber will use it to get to and from work.
As for the golf winners, there was little chance any of the two-person scramble teams would outdo the winners: Dylan Wu and Kevin Murphy, two local NCAA Division I players.
They were 14 under par the first day, 15 the second and ran away with the gross title. Runners-up Andy Baida and Brent Santoni were 10 shots back.
Mike Alleva and Randy Romero were the net winners with a 104.2 score, followed by Ian and Ron Norgan, who had the same score.
Have a local golf story idea? Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org