Mediate Wins in Exciting Fashion at the 2010 Open

Nat BanksContributor IOctober 20, 2010

SAN MARTIN, CA - OCTOBER 17:  Kathy Kolder, Rocco Mediate and Dave Fry pose with the winner's trophy after Rocco Mediate won the Open at the CordeValle Golf Club on October 17, 2010 in San Martin, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Who said the Fall Series wasn't exciting? The Viking Classic resulted in a three shot victory for Bill Haas, son of PGA and Champions Tour golfer Jay Haas. The week after, Haas came one stroke short of a victory at the McGladreys Classic in Sea Island, coming in second to Heath Slocum.

The Open, located at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California, featured talent such as Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Ricky Barnes. Then there was Rocco Mediate, the long-time journeyman who didn't even have a standard tour staff bag. He wore unsponsored clothing and came in with a smile on his face.

You may have remembered Rocco from the 2007 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where he wielded a hot putter all week and pushed injury-stricken Tiger Woods to his limit. Mediate had not won before this week, since the 2002 Wyndham Championship.

Mediate fired a seven under 64 in the first round, sparked by a six under front nine that included an ace on the Par 3 third hole.

Rocco followed up his good play in the first round, with a 65 and 67 in the second and third rounds respectively, giving him the 54-hole lead. However, with rainy conditions that would aggravate his back, Sunday's round would give Rocco his greatest test yet.

Going into the 17th hole, Mediate had dropped four shots, after a miserable ball-striking day, and was tied for the lead with Bo Van Pelt with Alex Prugh chasing him. Rocco elected to hit an iron off the tee on the drivable Par-4 17th, while Van Pelt and Prugh stuck their drivers on the green.

Here is where the excitement began.

With one smooth swing, Rocco stuck his 5 iron eight feet behind the cup and spun it into the hole for an Eagle 2. Van Pelt 3 putted and Prugh nailed his putt for eagle.

On 18 green, Rocco had a 5 footer for par, Van Pelt a 30 footer for birdie and Prugh a 15 footer for birdie. After Van Pelt and Prugh nailed their putts to apply pressure to Mediate, Rocco faced one putt to win, which he would make.

The Open was Mediate's first victory in 8 years and might prevent him from having to return to Q-School.