Sometimes with golf, you have a great feeling that can last up to a few days or just a couple of holes. You never own that feeling; you’re always just borrowing it, trying to stay in the zone for as long as possible.
Covello reflects on 2019 Chitimacha Louisiana Open title
March 22, 2020
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- March 22, 2020
- Propelled by his victory at Le Triomphe G&CC, Vince Covello finished inside The 25 to earn his first PGA TOUR card. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
A year ago this week, Vince Covello was battling down the stretch of the 2019 Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS. He found himself three strokes off the lead with four holes to play. A bogey by Justin Lower at the 15th drew him within two, and Covello’s birdie at the 16th made it a one-stroke advantage.
Needing a birdie at the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Lower, Covello stuck his approach to a foot and tapped in. Momentum was on his side, until the next shot.
“I didn’t even hit a bad tee shot on that first playoff hole. I hit a really solid shot; it just didn’t cut for me,” said Covello. “It was on the left edge of the fairway, but the fairways were firm and fast that week and the ball just kept rolling out and across that cart path and in the water. I kept telling my caddie, ‘We’re not done yet.’ When it’s one-on-one, you never know what’s going to happen. You have to have the resolve to not give it away. If the other guy is going to beat you, you have to make him earn it.”
So Covello stepped up and hit it to 10 feet, just inside of Lower’s approach and on a similar line. Lower’s birdie attempt burned the edge – giving Covello a line – and Covello drained his to extend the playoff.
“He hit a beautiful putt; to this day I can’t believe it didn’t go in,” said Covello. “He hit several good putts during the playoff, but that first one I absolutely thought was going in. The crowd thought he had it too; I remember the oohs and ahs.”
Vince Covello wins in three-hole playoff Chitimacha
After both players missed mid-range birdie attempts on the second extra hole, Covello stuck his approach inside 4 feet on the third extra hole and converted the birdie for his first Korn Ferry Tour win.
“There were so many emotions; that’s why we play sports, to win,” said Covello. “I pointed straight at the sky to my dad, to thank him and give him a shout-out. He was such a big factor in my life for such a long time. So much support. He taught me to never quit, and that was the feeling behind the whole day. I was three shots behind with four holes to play, and then drove it in the water in the playoff, but I never quit. Just had to keep fighting.
“The next couple of days were a whirlwind. So many people were reaching out with congratulations and of course all of the responsibilities with interviews; it makes the next week go by very quick. I had a hard time sleeping that night … The support from people both in Atlantic Beach, Florida, (residence) and Philadelphia (hometown) was great. Those are some of my coolest memories.”(Dave Evenson/PGA TOUR)
Even before last year’s win, Le Triomphe and Broussard held a special place in Covello’s heart.
In 2013, Covello competed in Acadiana in his first Korn Ferry Tour event as a member in the United States.
In 2019, it was the catalyst that led to his eventual PGA TOUR card. Covello is competing this season as a rookie on TOUR.
“After winning that tournament, I really had an opportunity to think back about all of the people who have touched my life as a golfer over the years,” said Covello. “My head and assistant pros that I grew up with in Philadelphia, the better players that would invite me along for games and stuff like that. The little tips and the little pieces of advice, it all came together that week in Broussard, Louisiana.”
Vince Covello's emotional words after winning Chitimacha Louisiana Open