There was a time when Chez Reavie was a standard bearer at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, dreaming one day his name would be listed there among the PGA players.
It became a reality for the Dobson great a few years back, but for the first time in his career that bearer that carried his name was in the final group on the final day.
Reavie was in contention at the WMPO, scratch that.
It was more than that. A lot more.
Reavie tied for the lead after 72 holes, birding the final two holes, including a 21-footer to force the playoff.
“I was excited to make that putt on the 72nd hole and still have a chance to win,” Reavie said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way this week, but who knows, maybe next week will be my week.”
The tournament title he considers to be just one step below the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship was within his grasp.
The fairytale ending didn’t fully come to fruition as Reavie lost to Gary Woodland on the first playoff hole – 18th – when Reavie’s approach from the fairway landed on the green but rolled off the green, and his chip left him a 12-footer.
The putt missed, just left of the hole and breaking just behind it, to give Woodland an opportunity and his approach shot left his with a four-footer for the win.
“I carried the sign board here growing up when I was in high school and junior high and to have a chance to win the tournament this week was a lot of fun,” Reavie said.
Reavie was in the lead most of the afternoon besting playing partners Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler, but Woodland shot a final-round 7-under par to catch the leaders and posted a number – 18-under for the four-day event – for the rest of the field to catch.
Reavie was the only one able to do it as the same demeanor he showed as an amateur while sharpening his skills at Dobson Ranch Golf Course allowed him to stay within himself – keeping the ball in the fairway, clean iron shots and making more putts than ever – to record his first top 10 finish of the year and his seventh top 25.
“He never let the moment be be bigger than it seemed,” said Dobson Ranch head professional Brian Herring, who was Reavie’s caddie at the U.S Open and Masters in the past. “Since his amateur days playing with professional, never fazed him. He just knew that’s where it is supposed to be.”
The start to the season has been the best of Reavie’s career – he has nearly eclipsed last year’s career-best $1.8 million – and this week only gives him additional confidence in his ability to win his first tournament since 2008.
“I’m making putts,” Reavie said. “I’m getting aggressive when I can, and I’ve been fortunate to make some birdies and make some putts.”
Red Mountain product Charlie Beljan, who is playing on a medical exemption, had a rough weekend after getting finishing the first two days at 1-under. He shot 72 Saturday and 78, including a 4-over par 18th hole, to finish at 7-over par.
— Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send human interest story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.