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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Nick Bienz shot a tournament-best 5-under 66 Monday to win the Men's City Golf Tournament for a second straight year. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018 1:00 am

Men's City golf

Bienz saves best for last to win again

Shoots 5-under 66; US Amateur next

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Leader board

At Orchard Ridge Country Club

Par 71

Final round

Nick Bienz 73-73-66–212 -1

Patrick Allgeier 73-70-71–214 +1

Joe Hayden 76-73-71–220 +7

Johnny Strawser 75-74-71–220 +7

Tom Botteron 69-74-78–221 +8

Ahead of Nick Bienz is world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links, where he will play in the U.S. Amateur next week in California.

In the rearview mirror is his second victory at the Men's City Tournament – he is the first person since Scott Pieri in 2012 to repeat at the three-day event – and it's safe to say Bienz's closing round Monday was one of the most impressive in the history of the Fort Wayne Golf Association event that dates back to 1926.

Not a bad boost of confidence.

Bienz shot a 5-under 66 – the best score of the tournament from any of the 156 participants by three strokes – and he finished at 1-under 212 at Orchard Ridge Country Club.

“The putter finally got hot today,” said Bienz, 22, who plays for IUPUI. “The first two days, it was a struggle and I couldn't buy a putt if I wanted it to happen. So for me, it was all about confidence and telling myself, 'You can make putts out here. These greens aren't that difficult.'”

Patrick Allgeier, who has battled Bienz throughout high school and college, finished two strokes back with a final-round 71.

Allgeier, a former Bishop Dwenger player who now golfs for Butler, came into the day tied for the lead with Tom Botteron, while Bienz, a former Heritage standout, was three strokes back.

“It was back to basics for me,” Bienz said. “The first two days, I was overreading everything and putting too much thought into it. I was taking too much time over putts, whereas today, I went over it and (thought), 'What was my initial reaction to the putt? What did I think it was going to do?' And then I'd trust that line more today.”

The turning point came shortly after a 20-minute delay for lightning. Allgeier, who had a two-stroke lead heading to the par-4 13th, salvaged a tee shot that had gone way left but missed his par putt. Meanwhile, Bienz was in the midst of birdieing Nos. 12 to 15.

“I'm not someone who likes to scoreboard watch,” Bienz said. “For me, especially on the front nine, I didn't want to know where anyone was because I wanted to play my own game. I didn't want to know if I had to do this or that. But after I made the turn, I did want to look at the board and (figure out) if I needed to change my strategy. Fortunately, I got to look at it a couple times and saw that I had to make some birdies and I went on a tear.”

Some good luck helped on the par-3 15th, where he hit his tee shot right of the green, got a favorable bounce and wound up 12 feet for a putt that put Allgeier out of reach.

“It was about time, too, because the first two days were brutal with that,” Bienz said. “Of course, the golf course is the same to everybody; everybody is going to get bad breaks, good breaks. My bad breaks just happened to be in the first two rounds, and finally I got some good ones today. So it evened out.”

Allgeier played the final 12 holes at 3 under. The chances he'll regret were earlier, including a double bogey on the par-4 fifth.

“Overall, a 71 on a tough golf course in the final round, it was pretty good. But it just wasn't what I needed to win the tournament,” he said.

Joe Hayden and Johnny Strawser tied for third at 3 over after both shot 71. Botteron was fifth at 8 over with a 78.

“I knew (Bienz) had that in him today,” Allgeier said. “And he played real good today – 5 under, that's impressive, especially when it matters.”

IHSAA state champion Logan Ryan (71), Kevin Irons (73) and Bradley Hardin (75) tied for sixth at 11 over. Luke Miller placed ninth at 12 over with a 79, though he had one of the most memorable shots of the day: After hitting his tee shot on No. 12 so far left it was on the fringe of the 15th green and 230 yards from the pin, he waited out the weather delay, then hit a 5-iron over the trees and to within 20 yards of the green to salvage par. He was even the rest of the day.