Yesterday, Albany's Goride Rees chipped in for eagle to win his match on the 21st hole against opponent Mike Bell of Indianapolis, never giving up hope. Today was a similar story. Rees faced Sam Till of Fort Wayne during the finals of the IGA Senior Match Play Championship at Hillview CC and although he was down early, he fought until the very end for a 2 & 1 victory.
"I shot 73 and barely got into match play earlier this week," Rees said. "This group of men has so many talented players that just qualifying for match play was difficult this year. Once I got in to the top 16, I just remained calm and trusted my game."
Till grabbed his first lead of the day during the final match on the par-5, 2nd , but Rees capitalized on Till's poor pitch shot on hole three to get the match back to All Square. After hitting his approach shot in the bunker on the par-4, 5th Rees saw himself down in the match for a second time. Till went on to make a birdie on the par-5, 7th to go 2-up, but then Rees fought back with back-to-back birdies on holes 8 and 9, putting himself right back in the match.
On the difficult par-4, 13th Till failed to hit the green in regulation and made bogey, giving Rees his first lead of the day. He went on to make a twenty footer for birdie on 14, but Till responded with a clutch birdie putt of his own. Rees again responded with another converted birdie putt on 15 and headed to the par-4, 16th with a 2-up lead.
"I really never felt like I knew I would win," Rees said. "Till made such a great comeback against Carter this morning that I knew he was capable of doing that again. After he missed his birdie putt on 16, I knew I just had to hit a good tee shot on 17 and remain calm."
Rees headed to 17 dorme with Till. After hitting solid drives, and second shots, both players gave themselves short chances for birdie. Rees putted first sinking his putt right in the center of the hole for his third IGA victory.
"My wedge game and my putting were really good today," Rees said. "I have learned a lot from players like Sam Till and Terry Werner who both play aggressively. I tried to stay aggressive today and it worked in my favor."
Through 17 holes, Rees was 6-under-par with birdies coming on holes 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 17.
"I have been playing really well this week and I knew if I played how I did today that I couldn't even be mad if I didn't win," Rees said. "I have been in this position before and let it slip away from me. It means a lot to me that I was able to fight back and come out on top this week. You don't get many chances to play against players as good as Sam Till and I am just happy to have had the opportunity to play against him."