Local golf: Jeff Gilbertsen wins Masters division of Porter Amateur
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org September 22, 2013 9:04PM
Jeff Gilbertsen tees off Sunday morning at Valparaiso Country Club on day two of the Porter Amateur tournament on September 22, 2013. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 24, 2013 6:34AM
VALPRAISO — When Jeff Gilbertsen is playing well, the putts drop.
Gilbertsen, or “Gilbo”, as his friends like to say, was a putting machine on Sunday in the final round of the Porter Amateur at Valparaiso Country Club.
He toured the tree-lined course, with the undulating fairways and small greens, with just 28 putts en route to a one-stroke victory over Tom Newton Jr. He finished with a four-round total of 295 or 12-over-par. Newton made a furious charge, shooting a 4-under-68, but he fell short.
Gilbertsen was Mr. Consistency over all four rounds, never finishing higher than 76.
“My putting won it,” he said.
It was Gilbertsen’s first Porter Am title and his biggest title in amateur golf in Northwest Indiana.
Gilbertsen had a pretty straight forward plan for VCC. It involved lots of 3-irons off the tee with an occasional driver. He used his 3-iron six times off the tee and he only resorted to his driver once.
He only made one birdie — on No. 10 — a long par-5 that is a three-stroke approach for most players.
“I didn’t hit a single fairway all day with the driver,” he said.
Still, he was able to get up and down for par whenever he needed to. His only bad hole came on No. 13 when he made double bogie after chunking a couple of chips.
His best putt came of the day came on No. 18, a three-in-half foot side winder that he had to drain to avoid a playoff.
He didn’t know it at the time because Newton was behind him, but it was a crucial putt.
“I’m glad I didn’t know,” he said. “It was a good day, but I never felt comfortable.”
Newton came into VCC wide-eyed and ready to play. He is the club champion there and he has posted a round of 65. He also knows that the course is deceivingly difficult for the folks who aren’t familiar with the trees and the right spots to come in from on the fairways.
He made birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and No. 4, a 225-yard par-3. Newton put his 3-iron three inches from the cup on that one.
Newton made birdies on Nos. 9 and 12 to get it to 5-under, but he made one mistake on No. 16 when he put his drive behind a tree and had to chip out. He finished with bogey. Newton clearly had his foot on the pedal all day — he just didn’t quite have enough gas in the end.
“I was trying to shoot 65,” he said.
Newton was happy for Gilbertsen.
“He’s a great guy,” he said. “I’m happy he won.”
In the women’s division, Natalie Achten got to keep the crystal trophy for one more year. She won in a playoff over Sandra Teal.
Both Teal and Achten shot 86 in the final round.
On the 73rd hole, Achten was able to get up and down for bogey after she sliced her drive into the rough and then hit her second shot into the trap. Her third shot flew past the top of the green and she then made a 15-footer for a five.
Teal struggled getting the ball into the cup, finishing with a seven after her drive split the center of the fairway.
Bryan Brown won the championship division of the Open flight. He shot an 82 at Sand Creek. He defeated Jake Goldsmith by 11 strokes.
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