Five back-nine birdies allow Puyallup’s Derek Barron to hold on for Northwest Open golf title

Puyallup’s Derek Barron offered a simple explanation why he plays so well at links-style Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla.

“There’s nothing around you, and you are just golfing in the middle of these fields,” Barron said. “It is so cool. You see nothing but golf.”

And golf is what Barron is really good at it — supported by his three stellar days at Wine Valley in the Northwest Open.

Coming into Wednesday with a six-shot lead, Barron closed out a three-stroke victory by firing a 1-under-par 71 to hold off Washington State University golfer Derek Bayley.

Barron’s three-round total was 17-under 199. He won $7,000 for first place, and added a second Northwest major title to his name. He also won the Oregon Open in 2014.

“I would imagine I will have a lot more opportunities,” the professional from Tacoma Golf Center said.

As well as he has played at Wine Valley — Barron opened with a 63 to be a wire-to-wire winner —he got off to a slow start Wednesday with bogeys at Nos. 2, 5 and 6.

He said an up-and-down par from left of the 11th hole sparked his round. He then birdied the next four holes — and a final one on the finishing par 5 to hold off Bayley (66).

Barron led heading into the final rounds of this summer’s Oregon Open and Rosauers Open, only to lose.

“It was good for me mentally to do this,” Barron said.