Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Niezing Wins Playoff for Third City Championship Title

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Niezing Wins Playoff for Third City Championship Title

Article excerpt

Golfing great Walter Hagen, who won 11 major championships, once said, "You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it."

Fortunately for Chad Niezing, the game he had Sunday was slightly better than the day before, enough so to make up a six-shot deficit and join a playoff at the City Championship at Forest Park. And then good enough to win it.

After opening with a 1-over-par 71 on Saturday, Niezing birdied No. 18 to shoot a final-round 67 on Sunday and hop into a three-way tie in the regular division. Niezing (71-67), Pat Riordan (71-67) and first-round leader Brian Hall (65-73) knotted up after 36 holes at 2-under 138.

That same score was enough for Bob Hanneken (67-71-138) to edge Tony Brown (67-72-139) by a stroke and capture the senior division. But it meant extra holes for Niezing, Riordan and Hall.

The combatants started on No. 17, a 130-yard par 3. Riordan hit his tee shot in a bunker, had his par attempt hit the back of the cup and pop out, and called it a day with a bogey. Hall made a two- putt par to stay solvent. Niezing, meanwhile, rolled a birdie putt at the hole from 12 feet that appeared good all the way before it lipped out.

"I thought I made that center-cut and it just kind of snapped at the last second," Niezing, 35, said. "I couldn't believe it." He tapped in for par, then there were two.

The playoff headed to the par 5 18th, where both players reached the green in three, approximately nine feet from the flag. A tape measure was used to determine who would putt first. By a hair it was Niezing and, by golly, he was ready.

"It was nice to hit a good putt on 17 just to relax the nerves," he said. "I definitely wanted to go first. I had a strong feeling I needed to make it on 18, especially since I was putting first. He had an uphill, right-to-lefter and I'm thinking, 'My opponent is going to make his.' So I'm not trying to two-putt there."

Utilizing his long putter, Niezing rolled the birdie attempt with purpose and it dropped into the middle of the cup, without lip service. …

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