THRILL OF VICTORY

First titles for Doak, Peterson; Sergeant back on top

Messenger photo by Eric Pratt Niel Doak hits a shot on the 18th hole the Fort Dodge Amateur at the Country Club on Sunday. Doak, who is from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, won the Open Division.

Niel Doak and Ron Peterson were sporting first-timer smiles after securing championships at the 70th Fort Dodge Amateur golf tournament here on Sunday.

And while Dave Sergeant may be an old hat at winning on his home Fort Dodge Country Club soil, the end of an eight-year drought in this event made the 73-year-old local attorney grin from ear-to-ear as well.

Doak earned the open division title by finishing at even-par 213, which was four strokes clear of defending champ Joe Urbanek and first-round leader Willis Gaer. Peterson prevailed in the senior standings by defeating Terry Cook and Dave Henry in a two-hole playoff, and Sergeant fought through iron trouble to come out on top in the super senior bracket.

Despite being regulars in Fort Dodge-area tourneys, Doak and Peterson had never emerged victorious at the FD Am. That changed on Sunday, as both experienced breakthrough victories in their respective fields despite a few unexpected twists and turns.

”It was kind of a struggle,” said Doak, the Cedar Falls resident and Grundy Center native who carded a 75 yesterday to complement his matching 69s from rounds one and two. ”Some of that was nerves. This is a big deal for me; I’ve always enjoyed coming to Fort Dodge and I wanted to do well.

”I really appreciate the hospitality here. I have a lot of great friends (locally). For as much as I like the golf courses, the hospitality is what makes it worth the trip.”

Doak, a past winner in the amateur at Lakeside, birdied holes 6, 7 and 10 on Sunday, but had bogeys at 5, 8, 9, 14 and 17. He also double-bogeyed No. 12.

Doak finished the three rounds with 14 total birdies.

The 56-year-old Peterson, who also secured a title at the Carroll Am earlier this month, placed second multiple times during his younger playing days in the FD Am’s open division. He finally got over the hump on Sunday by fighting off Cook and Henry in sudden death.

Peterson, who is from Urbandale, stuck a 7-iron to three feet on the par-3 second hole and made birdie to end it.

”I was pretty fortunate to have played well the first two days (with scores of 72 and 69),” Peterson said. ”I’ve been here a lot through the years, and I was close quite a few times, so to get this one is special. It’s a fun golf course that’s always in excellent condition.”

Sergeant, who last won here in 2010, scrambled his way to the super senior crown after rounds of 70 and 71 on Friday and Saturday set the stage.

”I putted well and got up and down a lot, which probably saved me from about an 86,” Sergeant said of his 79 on Sunday. ”It wasn’t pretty. I made a 25-footer on 8 and a 15-footer on 9 to end the round.

”My irons were not good, and I didn’t use my driver much. But the game is like that sometimes. What are you going to do? You have to fight your swing some days and just grind through it all.”

Jim Campbell was second in the super senior race, six strokes behind Sergeant.

Henry’s 69 and Gaer’s 71 were the only rounds at par or better on Sunday, as the FDCC was unforgiving despite mild temperatures and manageable winds. There were only 11 red numbers posted all week in the field of nearly 100 golfers, which spanned over 230 rounds.

COMMENTS