Shields grabs 3-shot victory in Falling Rock Classic

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As Kevin Shields stood on the 16th tee at Nemacolin Woodlands' Mystic Rock course Tuesday, he knew it was the hole that offered a chance to close out the Falling Rock Classic.

Shields, a pro at the Club at Nevillewood, had just bogeyed the par-4 15th, and Joe Boros was nipping at his heels, just two shots back. Any more mistakes by Shields would make things more tense than he would like over the final two holes.

Shields hit his second shot on the par-5 16th into a greenside bunker. He surveyed the green and lofted his sand shot up. As soon as the ball landed and started rolling, Shields put his hands up. The ball trickled down into the hole for an eagle that essentially sealed the victory.

Shields finished even par for the day, but his 6 under in the two-day tournament was good enough for a 3-shot win against Boros.

"I just lucked out," Shields said. "You never know when you're going to hit a perfect shot. I just hit a perfect bunker shot."

Shields started the final round with a 3-shot lead over playing partner Brett Carman. After Shields took a double-bogey seven on the par-5 fifth, he found himself one shot ahead of Carman.

Carman, though, hit three errant shots for a nine on the par-4 sixth that put him out of contention. While some do not check leader boards during a round, Shields kept an eye on them and saw Boros hanging around.

"I look at [the leader boards] all day," Shields said. "I don't even understand the mentality of not looking at them, I really don't."

Shields defined his "trouble holes" as the par-4 ninth, the par-5 11th and the par-3 12th, but got through them at even par and with a three-shot lead.

"Once I got past those at even, it was good," Shields said. "I was comfortable."

It wasn't until he reached the 16th that he knew he needed to make another move, and he did.

"You never go gangbusters out here on every hole," Shields said. "I just thought I could extend the lead there with only two [holes] to play. It's obvious, but three [shots] is obviously way bigger than two, especially with only two to play."

Shields won $6,500 of the $37,125 purse. Boros, a pro at Treesdale Golf and Country Club, earned $4,000 for second and took home another $900 as low senior. Shields' sights are now set on the Tri-State PGA Section Championship Aug. 5-6 at Oakmont.

"Everybody wants to be a part of something at Oakmont," Shields said. "As small as it is, you want to be a part of something at Oakmont."

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Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG.


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