Twelve months after falling agonizingly short of claiming a first PGA Tour victory in his rookie season, Alex Prugh is back at the same venue with lofty hopes for this week's Open.

Prugh tied for second at a wet CordeValle Golf Club last year, just one stroke behind fellow American Rocco Mediate, after very nearly eagling the penultimate hole.

I definitely have very good feelings coming into this week, the 27-year-old from Spokane, Washington, told Reuters on Tuesday after completing a lengthy practice session with his belly putter.

Coming back here, I've had a lot of people remind me of the drive I hit on 17 which I almost made. Hopefully I can create fireworks like that again this week.

Prugh very nearly aced the par-four 17th in the final round, his ball landing a foot short of the cup before bouncing forward three feet beyond.

Though he tapped in for his eagle two, his playing partner Mediate remarkably also eagled the hole after laying up short of the green off the 17th tee.

Mediate asked Prugh to mark his ball on the green before he stunningly holed out from 116 yards for his fourth eagle of the week, effectively securing the title.


I know the fans loved all that shot-making here at CordeValle last year and I loved it too, beamed Prugh, who won the 2009 New Zealand Open. And it's always nice making a two on a par-four.

Prugh ended his maiden season on the PGA Tour with four top-10 finishes in 28 starts, and was nominated for rookie of the year.

Though his 2011 campaign has not been as successful, he was greatly encouraged by his tie for 29th at last week's Las Vegas Open where he recorded four successive sub-70 rounds.

I had a nice solid tournament which always gets a little confidence going, said Prugh, who lies 167th in the money list and needs to break into the top 125 to secure full playing privileges for next year.

I loved this course the first time I played it and I can't wait to get out there on Thursday. There are definitely some scoring holes coming in and fortunately I capitalized on those holes last year.

Asked to assess a 2011 season where a tie for 20th at the Sony Open in January has been his best finish, Prugh replied: This year, it's been a lot slower. I've been working on a bunch of things but I feel like my game is good.

There are still three tournaments left so I have plenty of time to get it together and keep my (PGA Tour) card.