Northern Am comes down to playoff at Sand Creek
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org July 26, 2013 11:34PM
Juan Pablo Hernandez watches the flight of his ball after teeing off on the 10th during the Northern Amateur at Sand Creek Country Club on Friday July 26, 2013.
Updated: August 28, 2013 6:18AM
CHESTERTON — David Tepe was walking back to the finishing hole at Sand Creek, hoping to catch Juan Pablo Hernandez’s final putt of the Northern Amateur before putting his clubs in his trunk and heading back to Ohio.
His swing coach, Doug Spencer, interrupted him before he walked up the back of the green and told him to go warm up.
Tepe’s final-round 68 had put him in a playoff with Hernandez. The fairy tale ending, however, wasn’t meant to be for Tepe, whose application to play in the Northern Amateur was rejected last year.
He made bogey on his last two playoff holes and Hernandez, who hit the ball splendidly all week, was able to hang on for his second win of the year. He won the South Beach International Amateur in Miami around Christmas.
Hernandez, who made double bogey on two of the last three holes in regulation, by his own admission, was fighting his nerves.
“The pressure got to me,” Hernandez said.
The round started to unravel for him on No. 16, an easy par 5 that played down wind. He had to punch out of the woods after pushing his drive and then his third shot landed about a yard off the green.
He chili-dipped a chip and then proceeded to three-putt for a seven.
On No. 18, his swing coach, Tim Cusick, asked him if he wanted to know where he stood. Cusick told him that Tepe was tied with him going to No. 18.
Hernandez promptly hooked his ball into the hazard and had to take unplayable.
His third shot landed just in front of the long, undulated green, which had the pin tucked in the back.
He missed a 15-footer for bogey and the playoff was on.
Turns out, Tepe had also made double bogey after his drive found the same hazard.
Tepe looked like he had a few extra lives after Hernandez three-putted from 20 feet for par on the opening hole, a par 5 that was playing down wind.
He made par on the hole after getting up and down from the rough.
But he made a critical mistake on the next hole, flying the green on the short par 5. His flop shot back down to the green rolled 15 feet past and he made another bogey, giving Hernandez a one-shot lead.
On the final hole, Tepe pushed a 5-iron left of the green and he couldn’t save par.
Hernandez was happy to head onto the Western Amateur with the trophy in hand.
He actually dodged more trouble when third-place finisher David Perry, who entered the final hole trialing by a stroke, made double bogey on No. 18. Perry left his second shot in the bunker, 60 yards away and he flopped over the green. His putt for bogey, a 5-footer, lipped out. It was the second putt in three holes that Perry had lipped.
“I was pushing them,” he said.
Perry said he was “happy with the way I played but not the way I finished.”
Tepe got back into the tournament by having one of the best putting rounds of his career.
He made all his strokes up on eight of the last nine holes, opening with a birdie on No. 10 and then making a 50-footer for birdie on No. 14. He followed that with an eagle on No. 15 and then he made birdies on Nos. 16 and 17. The one on 17 was from 30 feet. One bad swing on 18 cost him.
Locally, Kyle Meihofer had the best round of the day, shooting a 1-under-71. Bobby Jacobs was the lowest finisher. He was tied for 18th after finishing with a four day total of 5-over par.