PIQUA — The Piqua City Golf Championship proved to be the “Real Deal” Saturday and Sunday at Echo Hills Golf Course.
The top five players were within three shots when the 36-hole tournament came to a close.
And in the end, Brian Deal had his first City title since 2009.
“I felt like I had been playing well,” Deal said. “And I had been making birdies, which is something that is important when you are playing in these tournaments.”
After the opening round Saturday, Ben Gover held the lead with a one-under par 71.
Ron Pearson Jr. was one shot back after an even-par 72, Ryan Pearson and Brian Robbins were both three shots back after carding 74s and Deal was another shot back after shooting 75.
And they all stayed close to each other for most of the day Sunday, which included a 40-minute weather delay midway through the front nine.
“I was thinking I was going to have to shoot something around par,” Deal said. “The weather kind of changed that a little bit.”
Deal was in the sixth fairway when the delay occurred.
“That was probably a good mental break for me,” he said. “I had just bogeyed the fourth hole and missed a short birdie putt on the fifth hole.”
When he returned from the break, he birdie the par-4 sixth hole on his way to an even-par 36 on the front nine to bring him within two shots of Gover and Pearson Jr.
“I was about 105 yards out on six and I hit it close and made birdie,” Deal said. “That was a pretty good momentum builder coming out of the break.”
It continued to be a battle to the end.
Playing in the penultimate group and standing on the 17th tee, Deal noticed that the final group was struggling on the par-4 16th. All three would double bogey the hole.
“Ryan (Pearson, playing with Deal) was still in it and we were thinking we might still have a chance.,” Deal said.
His 6-iron on the par-3 17th hole left in a 30-foot breaking putt, setting up the putt of the tournament.
Deal would hole the putt for birdie and go on to win by one shot.
“I had been struggling with the putter all day,” Deal said. ‘I could see as I was watching it it was holding its line pretty good and dropped in.”
Ron Pearson Jr. would take second — one shot back — after rounds of 72 and 79 for a 151 total.
Gover and Ryan Pearson would both finish with a 152 total — with Gover carding an 81 Sunday and Pearson carding a 78 — and Gover would win the scorecard tiebreaker for third.
Robbins would finish another shot back at 153 and take fifth after a 79 Sunday.
“That is something,” Deal said with a smile after winning 14 years after taking the 2009 title.
Mike Emerick charged back from a five-shot shot deficit to win the Seniors title.
Emerick, who had shot 82 Saturday, rebounded with a 75 for a 157 total and a four-shot victory.
He carded a three-under par 33 on the front nine, which included birdies on the par-3 third hole, par-5 fifth hole and par-4 sixth hole.
Mike Underwood took second with rounds of 77 and 84 for a 161 total.
John Voress took third with rounds of 79 and 88 for a 167 total.
Rob Kiser carded rounds of 88 and 92 for a 180 total to win the first flight.
Brendan O’Leary finished second.
On a day where the Piqua City Golf Championship was the “Real Deal”.
Source: Miami Valley Today