PEOSTA, Iowa — John Siela hoped all that time on the practice putting green would come in handy at some point in his golf career.
That moment came late Sunday afternoon.
The 36-year—old from Fonda, Iowa, drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat former Dubuque Senior standout Louie Psihoyos for The Robin title at Thunder Hills Country Club.
They both finished regulation at 5-over-par 147.
“You think about all the time you put in practicing, and you hope that maybe a couple of times in your golf career you have a moment where it will all pay off, and it certainly paid off for me today,” Siela said. “But when you’re doing that putting in practice, obviously, there isn’t the same kind of pressure. It’s a matter of getting up, rolling it and forgetting about that pressure. You just have to go for it.
“It’s a great feeling to make a putt like that under those circumstances. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve never had a tournament go this way, so it’s awesome to make a game-winning putt like that.”
Siela, who played The Robin for just the second time and the first in four years, shot rounds of 75 and 72 in the two-day event.
Psihoyos, who this spring completed a stellar career at Des Moines Area Community College by playing in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Championship at Swan Lake Golf Resort in Plymouth, Ind., shot rounds of 76 and 71. Psihoyos finished 46th individually at nationals, and the Bears took 11th as a team.
“Going into today, I was just trying to hit some good shots,” said Psihoyos, who will enroll at the University of Iowa in the fall but not play golf. “I wasn’t expecting to win or be in a playoff like this, but I was more than happy to make it to the playoff and at least give myself a chance with some extra holes. But it just didn’t go my way. That’s golf.
“I played solid all day. It was a matter of putting the ball in the middle of the green for two-putts. I had probably a half-dozen birdie putts that burned the edges and didn’t fall. I had a few hiccups here and there, but I had a few good breaks as well.”
University of Dubuque golfer Brady Ellis finished third, two strokes behind the leaders. Rob Cordle took fourth with a 150, and Dick Clemens and Jim Calkins shared fifth place after shooting 151s.