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The Journal Gazette

Monday, August 07, 2017 10:00 pm

City Championship

Bienz keeps cool, wins City Championship

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Leader board


Final Round


at Sycamore Hills Golf Club


Par 72


1. Nick Bienz 74-70-77--221


T2. Daniel Wert 77-77-70--224


T2. Luke Miller 74-76-74--224


T2. Matt Zedrick 76-72-76--224


5. Brayden Glaser 73-73-79--225

Nick Bienz kept his nerves in check as he came down the 18th hole on Monday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.

His caddy, Connor Burton, advised him against being aggressive on the last green as Bienz had a four-shot lead heading into the final hole en route to his first Fort Wayne Golf Association City Championship.

Bienz followed through as he won the three-day tournament 5-over 221 with a final-round 5-over 77.

"Today, obviously, the nerves were fine," Bienz said. "I honestly felt a little more comfortable today than I did going into the final round last year. Last year, I was tied for the lead going into the final round so, this year, to have a two-shot lead on my own, I knew I didn't have to play my best golf. I had a little bit of cushion.

"The nerves don't really settle in until the first tee shot then they don't come back until the 18th but walking up the 18th with a sizeable lead was an awesome feeling.

"I think (Sycamore Hills is) the nicest course in Fort Wayne, also the hardest. Especially having the Hotel Fitness and the Web.com guys. I watched Trevor Immelman make his putt to win (in 2013) and I thought, 'What a feeling that would be,' and a few years later, I was right in and I tapped it in for bogey and got the win."

Nine-time champion Tom Kelley was on hand to present Bienz with the inaugural Tom Kelley Trophy. The association retired the original silver trophy last fall.

"You just look at it, knowing what Tom did for the Fort Wayne Golf Association," Bienz said. "He's the greatest champion we've ever seen. For him to be on here nine times, people don't understand how hard that is. People don't understand how hard it is to win one.

"To win nine times is pretty spectacular. For him to be out here and present this to me is amazing."

Daniel Wert (final round 2-under 70), Luke Miller (74) and Matt Zedrick (76) finished tied for second at 8-over 224. Brayden Glaser was fifth at 9-over after a final round 79.

Wert, who came into the final round at 10-over after two consecutive rounds of 77, was the only player to go under par on the final day as his game plan came together perfectly.

"My dad and I had a game plan," Wert, a recent IPFW graduate, said. "We were just hitting shots, chasing the ball and made a few putts. It just worked out. I putted great the first day, hit it awful; the next day, I hit it better and putted awful and today, it all came together.

"(The plan was) Just to play it safe. We knew what holes to go at and what holes to stay back on, didn't make any dumb mistakes, made a couple putts here and there and it worked out."

Sinking putts was a major key in being successful on the final day.

"The thing about Sycamore Hills, they lengthened it from the first two days," Bienz said. "Those guys aren't the longest hitters so hitting 4- or 5-irons to these greens are not easy. These greens are the hardest that we have in the city. The amount of undulation or how quick they can make them, it's just really hard to get a ball to stop where you want it to stop if you miss a green.

"As firm as they are, they roll really smooth. If you're a good putter, you can get away with more. You just have to get it on the line and you know it's not going to bounce around."

areichel@jg.net