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Bruce goes bird-bird to win Old Cap

Bruce goes bird-bird to win Old Cap
Bruce goes bird-bird to win Old Cap
Matt Bruce, of New Salisbury, takes aim at the No. 1 green at Old Capital Golf Course on Sunday. Bruce went on to win his first Old Capital Invitational. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Matt Bruce described his final round at the Old Capital Invitational in two words: roller coaster.
The ride may have been bumpy at times, but, closing with a pair of birdies and the lone under-par final nine of the championship flight, the 22-year-old Bruce captured a thrilling finish to the two-day Old Capital Invitational on Sunday.
‘Being from the area, winning the Old Cap means so much to me,’ Bruce said. ‘I had won the New Salisbury Membership and Invitational and felt this was the only one I was missing from the hometown. I have had wins that probably meant more on a grander scale, but, on a personal level, this one tops them all. It’s an honor to win a tournament that Jack Miles has won 12 times or more.’
If Bruce were to build a roller coaster, ‘Eagle’ may be the name of the ride.
After double-bogey setbacks on two holes on the front nine, Bruce put in a pair of eagles to offset the rough patches. Eagles on Nos. 8 and 11 drew Bruce to 1-under par.
Playing in the next to last group, Bruce threw in birdies on No. 17 and the home hole No. 18 to post a Sunday score of 1-over par 75. His two-day total was an even-par 144 to score his first Old Capital Invitational.
Bruce, a member of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis men’s golf team, said he stayed alive with the birdies.
‘So many people had the opportunity to win coming down the stretch,’ he said. ‘I knew after 16 that it was going to take birdie-birdie to win. I was pretty nervous standing over the putt on 18, but I know those greens and just trusted the line. There is no better feeling than making birdie like that to what was eventually a win. I thought it would probably be good enough for a playoff.’
Bruce also raved about the course.
‘The course was in amazing shape,’ the New Salisbury resident said. ‘(Course superintendent) Chase Best and everyone there deserves a ton of credit for that. It was, for sure, the best I have ever seen in all the time I have played there.’
Among those in contention, Chris Cassell was among the leaders until a triple-bogey on No. 18 knocked him out. He finished with a two-day total of 147 (72-75) to finish three strokes behind Bruce in fourth.
Playing in the final group, Aaron Greenwell had a shot to force a playoff coming up to 18, but a bogey sent him to a second-place finish. He started the day 2-under and ended his championship round with a 75, a stroke short.
Defending champion Kevin Nash had an opportunity late to make a move but finished third with a 146 (72-74).
Dwight Seals started the Sunday round as the leader following his 4-under par 68 on Saturday. Seals, however, shot 8-over on Sunday and wound up sixth. Timothy Wiseman, fresh off reaching regional with the Corydon Central High School team, placed fifth (147).
Miles, the 12-time champion of the Invitational kept pace through 28 holes (1-under) but struggled on the final eight to place eighth with a 7-over par 151.
Also in the top 10 were Keith Marshall (seventh, 151), Sam Bhimani (ninth, 152) and Richard Timberlake (10th, 154).
Scott Hupp, winner of the event from 2008 to 2010, won the first flight. After firing a 76 on Saturday, Hupp carded a 69 on Sunday for a 145. Chase Garris was second with a 151.
The second flight went to Mike Ford (154), the third flight to Steve Smith (155), the fourth flight to Ryan Crawford (160), the fifth flight to Terry Emerson (165), the sixth flight to L.C. Nash (171) and the seventh flight to Wayne Darnall (179).

Championship flight ‘ 1. Matt Bruce 71-73-144, 2. Aaron Greenwell 70-75-145, 3. Kevin Nash 72-74-146, 4. Chris Cassell 72-75-146, 5. Timothy Wiseman 71-76-147, 6. Dwight Seals 68-80-148, 7. Keith Marshall 70-81-151, 8. Jack Miles 70-81-151, 9. Sam Bhimani 74-78-152, 10. Richard Timberlake 75-79-154, 11. Travis McIntosh 75-80-155, 12. Jimmy Johnson 75-81-156, 13. John Deaton 75-82-157, 14. Rick Pflanz 75-90-165.
First flight ‘ 1. Scott Hupp 76-69-145, 2. Chase Garris 76-75-151, 3. Kris Hobbs 76-76-152, 4. T.J. Cahill 76-76-152, 5. Pat More 77-75-152, 6. Larry Harmon 76-76-152.
Second flight ‘ 1. Mike Ford 78-76-154, 2. Dylan Spencer 78-78-156, 3. Alan Hess 80-77-157, 4. Logan Bensing 80-78-158, 5. James Yeager 79-79-158, 6. Joseph Hinton 79-80-159.
Third flight ‘ 1. Steve Smith 81-74-155, 2. George Hoskins Jr. 82-77-159, 3. Billy Winters 81-83-164, 4. Brian Lower 83-83-166, 5. Erik Davis 81-86-167, 6. Kirk Hobbs 81-87-168.
Fourth flight ‘ 1. Ryan Crawford 84-75-160*, 2. Mick Saulman 84-77-161, 3. Tommy Wiseman 84-78-162, 4. Michael Rigot 84-79-163, 5. Michael Wiseman 84-81-165, 6. Larry Bennett 84-82-166.
Fifth flight ‘ 1. Terry Emerson 87-78-165, 2. Tim Miller II 88-79-167, 3. Tim Collins 87-83-170, 4. Tony Lacey 87-85-172, 5. Dale Fawver 89-84-173, 6. Adam Beck 87-86-173.
Sixth flight ‘ 1. L.C. Nash 90-81-171, 2. Rob Higdon 90-84-174, 3. Don Gossman 92-81-175*, 4. Tom Baggett 92-80-175*, 5. John Baughman 93-84-177, 6. Vince Bradley 93-80-177*.
Seventh flight ‘ 1. Wayne Darnall 94-78-179*, 2. John Gonzaba 94-86-180, 3. Bill Barnes 96-77-182*, 4. Scott Armstrong 96-85-182*, 5. Monty Miller 95-87-182, 6. Larry Briscoe 97-84-184*.
*indicates adjusted score for 10-percent rule