At the age of 35, Alpine assistant pro Kim Thompson is enjoying the best year of his golfing life. In March, he won $13,000 on one hole at the KUTV Skins Game. In April, he won the Lake Havasu Open in Arizona, and $5,000, with a comfortable 6-shot victory.
Thompson added another victory Sunday afternoon at the Deseret Bank-Tri City Open, where he held off rookie pro Bruce Brockbank in a sudden-death playoff at Tri City Golf Course. This time Thompson won a mere $1,300, but he was nevertheless pleased by his first win at Tri City."I've always played well here, but I've never won," said Thompson, whose workplace at Alpine is just a mile up the road. "I scrambled real well today and got a couple of breaks early."
Thompson had taken a two-shot lead over Brockbank and Bob Betley into Sunday's final round, and he quickly increased his lead to four shots over Betley and five over Brockbank after a couple of holes.
"I was thinking this was going to be an easy day," he admitted.
It wasn't. While Thompson was bogeying 4, 6 and 7, Betley was birdieing 5, 7, 8 and 9 and at the turn it was all tied up. Brockbank was still a few shots back, but he was just getting started on a 5-birdie back nine of 31.
Going into the final hole, Thompson held a one-shot lead over Brockbank and Betley. But Brockbank rolled in a 12-foot putt to force a sudden-death playoff.
For Brockbank, now an assistant at Payson's Gladstan Course, it was like a second chance. A year ago as an amateur, he had tied for first with pros Milan Swilor and Henry White, but had gone home before the playoff, which Swilor eventually won.
"I would have liked to have played, because you always want to win an Open," he said.
In the playoff, Brockbank got off to a bad start when he pushed his drive into the trees on the right on the par-5 10th hole. When his birdie try from 25 feet missed, Thompson won it by sinking a 6-footer. But Brockbank wasn't overly upset afterward.
"I played super today," said Brockbank, whose $1,000 check was his first as a professional. "I really wanted to win, but I'm not going to look at this as not winning. I played well, and I tied for first."
Thompson credited experience for helping him win.
Following Thompson and Brockbank at 137 was Betley at 139, Mike Malaska at 140 and Reed McArthur at 141. Former champ Tom Costello came in at 142, while four golfers, including Swilor, White, Roy Christensen and amateur Kurt Bosen were at 143.