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Published: 8/20/2001 - Updated: 1 year ago

Heaven wins Toledo Amateur by 5 strokes

BY DAVE SAEVIG
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

Heaven couldn't wait.

Not if he wanted to win the 30th annual Toledo Amateur Golf Championship yesterday at Detwiler Golf Course.

University of Toledo sophomore golfer Brad Heaven was five shots behind second-round leader B.J. Pitzen heading into yesterday's 36-hole finale. The 20-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, wasted no time making a move, scoring a 66 in the morning and then a 70 in the final round to win.

Heaven finished at 8-under 276. John Spengler was second, five shots back.

“I'm pretty happy,” Heaven said. “My family's been in town for the last three weeks and I haven't been playing. I had a rusty (71) first round, but then things started to click.”

Notably, he was able to click after a bad hole. In the final round, he followed a double bogey on No.9 with a birdie on No. 10. After a bogey on No. 14, he birdied the next hole.

“It's something I've worked on with (ex-UT golf coach) John (Jasinski who last week took a similar position at Notre Dame),” Heaven said. “I'd ride highs and lows. I'm way more relaxed now. You're going to make bogeys, you're going to hit bad shots.”

His best shot of the tournament may have come on No. 4 yesterday afternoon. After flying the green, Heaven chipped a 45-footer from the rough off the flag stick and into the hole.

“It was a little bit of luck there,” Heaven said. “It was the turning point. Suddenly, I had a little bit of a cushion. I felt a little more comfortable about the whole thing.”

It showed on the next hole when his tee shot went into the rough and his second shot landed in a bunker. He wound up with birdie on a 15-foot putt.

“I had a 30-40 yard bunker shot and that's one of the hardest shots you can get,” Heaven said. “I hit a great explosion shot out there and a big curling putt. From then, I felt comfortable - like I was on cruise control.”

Spengler, 42, a local financial advisor and two-time winner of the Amateur, was comfortable with his second place finish.

“It wasn't easy because they had the pins tucked in some real tough places,” Spengler said. “I was happy. I played pretty well all weekend. The kid just played great.”

That wasn't the case yesterday for Pitzen, 21, a 1998 graduate of St. John's Jesuit who's on the golf team at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

“I just couldn't get anything on the greens,” said Pitzen, who finished in a three-way tie for fifth at 284 after recording a 74 and 75 yesterday. “It seemed like I was always chipping. You can't score when that happens.”



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