PIQUA — It was an interesting finish to say the least at the Miami County Golf Championship Sunday at Echo Hills.
And there was all the drama you would expect with three former champions playing in the final group.
In the end, after a lot of back-and-forth on the back nine, Brian Robbins emerged with a one-stroke victory to win his third County title.
He shot rounds of 71 Saturday at Miami Shores and 78 at Echo Hills Sunday for a 5-over par 149 total.
Ryan Groff had rounds of 71 and 79 for a 150 total and the third member of the group Austin Hadden had rounds of 74 and 81 to finish fourth with a 155 total after being tied for the lead with nine holes to go.
“I would say everything was going well, right up to the 14th hole,” Robbins said with a laugh.
That’s when the wind began to make things interesting.
With five holes to play, Robbins had a two-shot lead over Hadden and a five-shot lead over Groff.
But, Hadden had several double bogeys and fell back to fourth.
Robbins, who was even par for the tournament, had bogeys on 14 and 15 and double-bogeyed 17, allowing Groff to pull within one shot going to the final hole.
“It was a nice day, but the wind was swirling,” Robbins said. “And there were some tough pins if you got into the wrong spot.”
On the short par-4 16th, Groff had nearly driven the green, while Robbins laid up off the tee.
“I was just trying to make a par because of the position I was in,” Robbins said. “Ryan (Groff) had a great drive there and a nice birdie.”
As they went to the par-5 finishing hole with Robbins up by one, he was thinking par.
“I just wanted to get myself in a position where I would have a good shot on my third shot,” Robbins said about the wind that was into them and pushing the ball towards the out of bounds on the right. “From where we were standing, it looked like Ryan’s second shot had gone out of bounds.”
After Groff hit a provisional, they found his second shot was OB and both players would finish with bogey to give Robbins a one-stroke victory.
“Once we got up there and saw his ball was out of bounds, I felt like I was in good position,” Robbins said. “I had a four-foot putt for par, but I knew all I had to do was two-putt to win.”
Both players had played well on Saturday, shooting one-under par 71s at Miami Shores.
“We both played real well,” Robbins said. “Neither one of us had any big numbers.”
And it was more of the same for Robbins on Sunday through 13 holes.
He had shot 38 on the front nine, while Groff had a 42 and Hadden had a one-under par 35 to pull even with Robbins and set up an interesting back nine.
“Really, I hit the ball well on Sunday,” he said. “I just got in a couple tough spots.”
Brian Deal made a charge from the back Sunday, following a 78 on Saturday with a 73 for a 151 to move up to third.
Doug Harter took first place in the First Flight.
He shot rounds of 79 and 76 for a 155 total and a one-shot victory over Andrew Lindeman.
Lindeman had rounds of 81 and 75 for a 156 total.
Jeff Jennings took third with matching rounds of 79 for a 158 total.
James Newton won the second flight with a 36-hole total of 170.
Gary Koenig finished second with 186 for 36 holes.
John Mutschler won the Super Seniors by five strokes with a 160 total for 36 holes.
Lynn Denlinger and Tom Marsh both shot 165, but Denlinger won the playoff by default for second.
Jim Sass shot 71 in the opening round and held off a charge from Ray Putnam to win the Super-Duper Seniors title.
Sass finished with a 147 total for 36 holes, while Putnam was one shot back with a 148.