By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
There are three things spectators walked away with from the Henderson Memorial Match Play Championship at Lincoln Golf Club on Sunday: A stiff spine from a cold, driving wind and scattered rain, the golf shots of Ryan Mouw, and a finely manicured course at Lincoln.
Mouw made viewers forget about the cold with a chip-in birdie out of a sand trap on the 11th hole. He also showed on 14 why he’s known for hitting big putts.
And that’s why Mouw walked away champion of the Henderson Championship Flight by beating Travis Clarke 5 and 4 in the finals.
Digging himself into a sand trap behind the 11th green, Mouw was needing to keep ahead of a pesky and younger Clarke on the par 3. With deliberate thought, Mouw chipped in for birdie and kept his pace.
“I kept applying the pressure,” said Mouw about his final against Clarke. “Making him beat me with birdies and I made my own share birdies as well. The whole thing with match play is keeping the pressure on them.”
Mouw wrapped up the championship on the 14th hole with a 25-foot putt for par.
The driving wind seemed like it would never stop and on 10, it didn’t.
“The hole was playing a real long ways,” said Mouw about the 377-yard par-4 10th hole. “That’s a very big turning point hole. Two of my matches over the weekend, two guys hit out of bounds because they used their driver.”
“That’s just giving me a hole and I’m just hitting into the fairway. It’s a very very big hole to this golf tournament and in any tournament and especially in match play here.”
Mouw was not shy to point out Clarke’s tough game.
“This morning against (Jeff)Petroski was the first time I’ve ever seen him play and I was like whoa this kid is good,” Mouw said. “He plays fast. Gets up over the putt, barely looks at it, gets up and goes and he makes it. I knew I was going to have my hands full.”
Despite the rough weather conditions, Mouw was very comfortable at Lincoln. It’s been his home course since he was a kid.
“I’ve played here my entire life so it’s always going to be my home course,” said Mouw. “I always feel comfortable here. Everybody here is good friends of mine. I never lose touch with them.”
One close friend that Mouw had by his side the entire weekend was his girlfriend Caitlyn Gledhill.
“Caitlyn is a saint for following me around the last couple of days. Handling the nasty rain and cold and everything else. She’s a trouper.”
Speaking about the cold and rain, the 2013 Henderson champ does not favor the rough weather.
“I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a good rain and cold weather player,” said Mouw. “But, I had a good mental attitude and felt ok the entire time. But I could really feel the weather was taking control of me the whole time.”
Lincoln golf pro Colby Beckstrom had his say about the weather conditions too.
“I couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said Beckstrom. “It brings a certain element.”
The Henderson brought that element on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those who stuck around and fought off the weather will walk back to Lincoln next year where the Henderson will be hosted once again.
Watch Mouw’s chip-in birdie on 11 below.