Cole Madey wins Sahalee Players Championship with dramatic birdie on final hole

Cole Madey, winner of the 24th Sahalee Players Championship
Cole Madey, winner of the 24th Sahalee Players Championship

Sammamish, Wash. - In a pressure-packed final round that was a see-saw battle until the end, 2017 PNGA Player of the Year Cole Madey of West Linn, Ore. held off a fierce challenge from Australian Nathan Barbieri to claim the title in the 24th Sahalee Players Championship, held this week at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.

Madey began the day with a one-shot lead over Barbieri, and the two were paired in the final group of today's final round of the 72-hole championship.

After sliding back on the front nine, Barbieri inserted himself back into contention by dropping a 45-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th hole, which put him within two of Madey. Barbieri eventually took the lead for the first time on the par-4 14th when he birdied from eight feet while Madey bogeyed. Madey tied it on the next hole, then took the lead again on the 16th hole.

Cole Madey putting
Cole Madey putting

Barbieri then tied the championship with a dramatic 22-foot downhill birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

On the final hole, both hit strong drives of nearly 300 yards on the uphill, 535-yard par-5 18th. But Madey closed the deal with a stunning 245-yard 4-iron to within 12 feet , while Barbieri's approach caught one of the towering trees that line Sahalee Country Club and fell short of the green. Madey narrowly missed the eagle putt but clinched the victory with a tap-in birdie when Barbieri missed his 15-footer for birdie. Madey and Barbieri would both close with an even-par 72.

The 2017 Oregon Amateur champion and UCLA standout led the elite invitational championship, featuring some of the top college and junior amateur players from around the world, from wire to wire, finishing with a four-day total of seven-under-par 281. Madey had finished tied for ninth in last year's Sahalee Players Championship.

"This is huge for me," Madey said afterward. "I've put so much work into my game, so many hours that people haven't seen. To win this means so much to me. I'm going to cherish it forever, especially in the Pacific Northwest."

Pepperdine junior Joshua McCarthy of Danville, Calif. made a run at the leaders early on, at one point moving into second place before stumbling a bit on the back nine and finishing third at four-under-par 284, three behind Madey.

"What an exceptional finish to an incredible week," said Sahalee Players Championship tournament chairmen Kevin White. "To see some of the best young players travel from all over the country and world to play here was a great honor for Sahalee. I know we'll be seeing a lot of these guys on the PGA Tour and other top tours and tournaments in the not too distant future."

Madey joins an elite list of players engraved on the Paul Runyan Trophy, awarded to winners of the Sahalee Players Championship, including Ryan Moore, Kyle Stanley, Peter Uihlein, Daniel Summerhays and other PGA Tour members.

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Joshua McCarthy
Joshua McCarthy
Nathan Barbieri
Nathan Barbieri