Sheff settles for second...againSitting seven shots back on Sunday, Cloquet native John Sheff surged from behind with his final-round 70, only to fall short in a playoff with Dan Moline and eventual-champion Alex Kolquist at the 82nd Cloquet Invitational at the Cloquet Country Club.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Following his final putt of the weekend — one that missed and placed him at runner-up for a 13th time without a win at the Cloquet Invitational — John Sheff slowly walked with his son, Evan, down the first hole fairway, as the 50-year-old couldn’t watch how the tournament ended.
Sitting seven shots back on Sunday, Sheff surged from behind with his final-round 70, only to fall short in a playoff with Dan Moline and eventual-champion Alex Kolquist at the 82nd Cloquet Invitational at the Cloquet Country Club.
Sheff, a Cloquet native playing in his 32nd Invite in 41 years as a member at the CCC, had the hometown crowd behind him throughout. His birdie on the 18th was — without a doubt — the loudest roar from the gallery all weekend, as he forced extra holes and followed with an ecstatic fist pump.
“I don’t know if I’ve had a bigger putt in my life,” said Sheff, noting he drained a 25-footer against Alex Kolquist’s father, Reed, in the 1980s that was also memorable in his career. “It was a lot of fun. I certainly felt the hometown there.”
Shortly after, Sheff was eliminated, when his second shot on the par-4 first hole went into the back greenside bunker, followed by a chip and a missed putt equaling bogey. Both Moline, last year’s champion, and Kolquist had par-4 to advance.
Following pars on the par-4 second hole, Moline and Kolquist went to the par-3 third, where Kolquist, a 22-year-old Hermantown native, drained an eight-foot, downhill-winding birdie to edge the 27-year-old Moline of Duluth.
All three finalists finished with a 5-over total of 218 for the weekend, while Sheff said his back-to-back 70s on Saturday and Sunday was the best weekend of golf of his life.
“It’s easy to be discouraged, but the thrill of the fight was fun,” said Sheff. “This is golf — it’s a game. I love this.”
Sheff wasn’t exact on how many times he’s taken second.
“Maybe 13, it could be 14, I don’t know,” he said. “It’d be nice to get one. This has been a pretty big deal for me, but you just have to collect yourself and move on. That’s just golf.”
CCC Assistant General Manager Matt Carlson said 162 players participated in one of the strongest fields of competitors ever. He said he was rooting for Sheff, like many.
“You keep thinking time is running out on him,” Carlson said, “but he keeps surprising people, getting his nose in there and hanging around with a lot younger, very talented golfers.”
“I think I’ll continue to have some good opportunities,” admitted Sheff. “I still have another five or six years left.”