After 10 years of professional golf, Hurricane resident Dusty Fielding is getting to a point where the vagabond lifestyle might not be what he wants anymore.
“I’ve felt like it’s kind of time to call it quits,” Fielding said Sunday afternoon. “The stress of it all and the constant disappointments kind of wear you down.”
No matter what his next step is, however, he will always be able to play in the annual Utah Open golf tournament. Winners get a lifelong exemption.
After coming close a couple of times earlier in his career, Fielding finally made it to the top of the Utah Open leaderboard in 2018. He surged on the final day of action at Riverside Country Club in Provo to win by three strokes with a three-round score of 200 (16-under-par).
“It feels good,” Fielding said. “I’ve been trying to win this one for a long time. It feels good to close it out. In 2012, I was in control the whole time and then let it slip away as someone shot a really good score to beat me. It was good to be the guy today to play the good final round.”
He was in the final group with 2016 champion and two-day leader Zahkai Brown and former Lone Peak and BYU golfer Garrett Fotu but said he didn’t feel any particular pressure coming into the last round.
“I felt like the underdog,” Fielding said. “A lot of times, it is easier to play that way. I felt like I was scratching back from behind to get back in, so that was kind of nice.”
It wasn’t until he drained an impressive birdie putt of 40-plus feet on hole No. 15 to build a four-stroke lead that the reality set in.
“After that I knew it was basically my tournament to finish off, so that’s probably when I got feeling it,” Fielding said.
He saw his lead shrink on holes No. 16 and No. 17, but knew things could’ve been a lot worse after he hit his tee shot into a bunker on the par-3 No. 17.
“I was definitely nervous on that tee because I’ve never played that hole well,” Fielding said. “I hit it into as bad a place as I could have. I had four-shot lead and Zahkai was in there close for birdie. That would’ve really tightened things up if he had made that putt. I wanted to make my bogey putt as much as any putt I had all day because that made things a lot easier coming up the last hole.”
Fielding said the big key to his win was putting solid throughout the week.
He then capped his impressive, 5-under-par final round by hitting his pitching wedge from 175 yards out and sticking it just inches from the cup.
“I felt I was a little tentative on the previous two shots,” Fielding said. “I was talking to myself — we golfers are all kind of crazy talking to ourselves as we are driving up to the ball — and I basically just said man up and stuff one in there. It actually worked out.”
While the win at a big tournament like the Utah Open was something he has wanted for a long time, he said he’s still not certain whether it will affect his future.
“I might change my mind on whether I go to Q-School or not,” Fielding said. “I’ll just enjoy winning for now.”
Fotu said overall he was pleased with his performance but had a couple of rough holes that took him out of contention. He finished tied for fifth.
“All and all, I’m just glad to finish under par in the final group and not totally fall apart,” Fotu said. “I felt proud of myself for that. It was a really good experience and I’ll kind of build off of this and get ready for the next thing up.”
For complete results from the 2018 Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open, go to http://www.utahpga.com/utah-open.php.