Guthrie brings the power in final round of ESI

  • Luke Guthrie hits a tee shot during the inaugural Evans Scholars Invitational at The Glen Club in Glenview Sunday. The University of Illinois product tied for fourth place.

      Luke Guthrie hits a tee shot during the inaugural Evans Scholars Invitational at The Glen Club in Glenview Sunday. The University of Illinois product tied for fourth place. JOE AGUILAR | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/26/2019 8:58 PM

Luke Guthrie knew he made the right selection. How do you go wrong with choosing the "power colors," after all, if you played golf for the University of Illinois?

"Sunday," Guthrie said, "we always wore the orange shirt."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So the 29-year-old pulled out the orange (and navy blue) Sunday for the final round of the Web.com Tour's inaugural Evans Scholars Invitational at The Glen Club in Glenview.

"I had it all planned out, Guthrie said. "I had orange in the closet and I was like, 'We'll save that for Sunday.'"

Sharply dressed his Illini blue slacks and vest and orange shirt, Guthrie, whose caddie even carried a U of I bag, was nearly as sharp in his execution on the golf course. A stretch of 4 birdies in 5 holes helped him fire his third round of 68 in four days and earn him a tie for fourth place.

Scottie Scheffler won in a playoff over Marcelo Rozo after both golfers finished the tournament at 17-under par. Nicolas Echavarria (16 under) was third, followed by Guthrie and 36-year-old Vince Covello (both 15 under). It was just the sixth tournament Guthrie has played in this season and second top-10 finish (tie for sixth in the KC Golf Classic two weeks ago).

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"It's just great to be playing," said Guthrie, who's been playing on conditional status. "I've been playing well, was playing on Monday qualifiers early in the year, lots of 60s scores. This week was just a continuation of how I've been playing. Very proud of how steady I was this week."

Three shots back of Rozo after three rounds and playing in the penultimate group Sunday, Guthrie drained a 30-footer for birdie on the par-3 ninth. That got him to 12-under and got him going. He proceeded to birdie Nos. 10, 12 and 13, before missing a 10-footer on the par-5 14th that would have given him 5 birdies in 6 holes. He then parred the next two holes, as well, and saw his title hopes start to fade.

He went to the 17th tee box knowing he needed to finish birdie, birdie to have any chance at winning for the first time since 2012. And then, for the first time all day, the wind kicked up.

"I took the club that could go in the hole," said Guthrie, who chose a 5-iron on the 188-yard hole, pulled it and carded a bogey-4. "My 6-iron is about a 188 (-yard) club. The wind came up, and it was probably a good 6-yard hurt."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He settled for a 3-under 33 on the back nine.

"It was a good back nine," Guthrie said. "It was almost really good."

The Quincy native and two-time Big Ten champ left feeling good about his game, his resiliency and his future. Next Monday in Columbus, Ohio, he tries to qualify for next month's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

"I've been struggling for a few years, and it's just a process to put yourself back in the mix, which I did in Kansas City," Guthrie said. "These last couple of days, I wasn't sharp, but I was closer. I'm proud that I was closer, and I'm proud how I hung in there and pieced together a round when I wasn't hitting on all cylinders. I could have easily gone and shot even today. I hung in there and I got hot there."

Fellow former U of I golfer Nick Hardy heated up as well. Hardy, the Glenbrook North graduate, fired a 7-under 65 Sunday to tie for 27th. Deerfield and University of Iowa product Vince India shot a final-round 69 to tie for 19th.

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