Shortly before Peter Lansburgh prepared for a tap-in on No. 18 to wrap up the Lilac City Invitational title, Jesse Schutte sauntered away to borrow a water bottle from a spectator.
The two close friends have played a ton of golf together, but they’d never been in the same group in a tournament until Sunday’s final round at the Fairways.
That would explain the Schutte-administered water bath Lansburgh absorbed after retrieving his ball from the cup. Nothing else over the previous 4½ hours cooled off Lansburgh, who put together a 6-under 66 that was virtually stress-free and spotless.
The 31-year-old pro from Sacramento pulled away on the back nine for a four-stroke victory with a 72-hole total of 18-under 270. Lansburgh captured his first multi-round tournament win since a 2013 Dakotas Tour event.
“So far,” smiled Lansburgh, when asked if the $10,000 first-place check was the biggest of his career.
Schutte, who shot 3-under 69, held off T.K. Kim for second place and earned $5,300. Kim, who played college golf at Boise State, also shot a 69 and finished at 13-under 275.
“We traveled to Asia together (for a mini tour) last year. For the most part we’re like brothers,” Schutte said of Lansburgh. “It was fun to watch because he earned it. I didn’t give it to him. He didn’t miss a shot. And for him to pull out driver on 18, I was like, ‘OK, you’re pretty confident.’ ”
Part of Lansburgh’s confidence stemmed from playing with Schutte and a familiar face in Kim. Lansburgh and Kim played together at a tournament in Utah.
But most of Lansburgh’s confidence was the product of spot-on execution, solid ball-striking, accurate wedge play and a dependable putting stroke. He didn’t come close to making a bogey and the longest putt on his four back-nine birdies was maybe 7 feet.
Lansburgh’s birdie on No. 10 broke a tie with Schutte, who trailed by two after a bogey on No. 11. Lansburgh’s smooth wedge led to birdie from 5 feet on the par-5 12th and a three-shot cushion.
Lansburgh delivered the daggers on Nos. 13 and 14. He stuck his approach within 5 feet on the par-3 13th, despite the flag being tucked precariously near the right edge. He negotiated the tricky putt for another birdie.
Lansburgh took the same strategy – iron, iron, wedge – on the par-5 14th as he did on No. 12 while Schutte bombed driver within 100 yards of the green.
“Really,” said Schutte, after watching Lansburgh’s approach from 76 yards stop 18 inches from the hole.
“I made it a point this morning when I went to the range to work on wedge shots 85 yards and in,” Lansburgh said. “The first three days I wasn’t as tight with those as I wanted.”
Lansburgh’s birdie on the 190-yard 7th was as impressive as his bird on No. 13. A perfect 7-iron left him about 8 feet from the back, left pin.
“Just really had to commit to the shot and trust the wind,” he said. “The ball ended up below the hole, but the putt still broke a foot. Even the 5-footer on 13, that thing can get away from you. To trust it at that point when I was trying to build more of a lead, that was a big putt.”
“He’s only struggled with his putting,” Schutte said of Lansburgh’s game. “Ironically enough, I help him with his putting and he helps me with ball-striking. He putted absolutely awesome.”
Lansburgh and Schutte will travel together for three Dakotas Tour events. Both are trying to sharpen their games for Web.com Tour qualifying in December.
The Fairways’ Aaron Byrd was the low amateur at 5 over, one shot in front of Manito’s Jack Plaster. The tournament raised $9,000 for Shriners Hospitals for Children-Spokane.
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