Cox was safely on the front edge of the 152-yard par 3, leaving Meade to let his fortunes ride on one swing of his trusty 9-iron.
By the time Meade’s ball nestled within a few feet of the flagstick, he had all but slammed the door on his first Glenrochie Invitational championship.
“It was really kind of a sucker pin,” Meade admitted. “I can’t lie — I pulled it a little bit but it worked out good. It rolled right down to the hole so I was very fortunate to have it end up where it did.”
But Meade had to dodge one last bullet, and Cox made sure that Meade’s escape was a narrow one.
Cox sent a 40-footer screaming off his putter face and up the slope. His ball caught the back lip of the cup, hopped into the air and settled less than a foot from the hole.
“I saw him knock it close and I had to make it,” Cox said. “I knew if I didn’t make it, he was going to make it for sure. It was kind of a do-or-die putt.”
For Meade, watching Cox’s putt was an emotional roller coaster.
“I thought it was going to go off the green, but it caught the hole and it caught a lot of it,” Meade said. “But power to him, it was on line and he was giving it his best shot.”
Meade and Cox both made birdies on No. 18 to finish their final round with matching 36-hole totals of 144. The duo also halved the first playoff hole with birdies before Meade clinched the win on the second hole of sudden death.
While Cox made a clutch putt on No. 18 to force the playoff, he felt like he opened the door for Meade early in the final round.
“I believe I let him back into it throughout the day,” Cox said. “I went birdie-birdie-double (to start the round) and I think that third hole was the chance I could have had to seal the deal.”
Instead, Meade fired a 32 on the front nine to take the lead at the turn before Cox climbed back into contention with a flurry of birdies on the back nine.
Meade’s birdie on 18 gave him a final-round 71, making him the only player in the field to break par Sunday.
Chip Spratlin, who won the Tillinghast Invitational at Johnson City Country Club earlier this year, carded a 72 to finish third at 146. Tommy Miller’s total of 147 was good enough for a fourth-place finish while Steven Gillen finished one stroke back of Miller to round out the top five.
Meanwhile, Meade was glad to finally seal the deal after playing plenty of great golf this year with nothing to show for it.
Meade hasn’t finished out of the top three in any tournament he’s entered in 2009, but Sunday marked his first tournament title of the year.
“This is it,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve played here and my first win. It feels great.”