Maybe it was only Fair.
Seth Fair tied for second last week at the Waterloo Open. He tied for second at the Honduras Open back in May playing on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit. In the TrueNorth Greater Cedar Rapids Open (GCRO), presented by Granite City Food & Brewery, he finished second back in 2012 and last year was in contention again before tieing for ninth.
So yes, maybe it was only fair that Seth Fair finally finished on top. He did that Saturday at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.
Fair, from Brownsburg, Indiana, fired a 7-under par 65 that propelled him to the title in the 18th annual GCRO.
His 16-under par total of 199 was four better than GCRO first-timers Matthew Jennings (Prairie City, Iowa) and Josh Weems (Lake Quivira, Kansas) and secured him the record $25,000 payout for winning the 54-hole event.
“It feels great,” said Fair, a University of Indianapolis product who is headed back down to the Latinoamerica Tour when it picks back up in late August. “I had a lot of near misses earlier this year. To be able to pull it out definitely boosts my confidence and validates all the hard work I’ve been putting in lately.
“It’s hard to win,” he continued. “You have to keep your head down and play good golf. I did that today.”
Nobody handed this title to Fair. He went out and took it.
Fair had eight birdies and a bogey in his round. On the back nine, with defending champ Paul Apyan and 2014 champ and good friend Mark Blakefield on his tail in the group behind, Fair posted birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 15 before throwing the clinching blow on the par-5 17th. Fair hit an approach shot from about 140 yards to within four feet and drained his fourth birdie in six holes.
Fair entered the third and final round three shots behind co-leaders Apyan and Blakefied, who had lit up Hunters Ridge on Friday with rounds of 62 and 61, respectively.
“I knew it was going to be a little bit of a double-edged sword because I knew Mark, and I’ve been playing golf with Mark and Paul and I know how good they are. I knew they were capable of putting up another low number,” said Fair, “But with them shooting so low yesterday, the chances were they could kind of stall out a little bit so on the front nine I tried to make as many birdies as I could. I had things going. I didn’t miss a shot all day … It was great to have a day where everything came together.”
Apyan and Blakefield, playing in the final group for the second straight year, did stall out after Friday’s fireworks.
Blakefield, who tied the course record with the 61, couldn’t make a putt, had three bogeys and finished with a 1-over 73, his worst round in three years at Hunters Ridge. He finished at 12-under and tied for fourth with Spence Fulford (Davenport, Iowa), another first-time GCRO player who fired a 6-under 66 Saturday.
Apyan got it to 15-under at one point but bogeyed 10 and then took a triple-bogey 8 on 17 when an attempt to go for the green in two went awry. He finished with a 2-over 74 and tied for sixth with Tim Crouch (Mount Vernon, Ohio), Armando Villarreal (Dallas, Texas) and Blake Sattler (New Philadelphia, Ohio), all playing for the first time in the GCRO.
Apyan, who with Fair will be headed back down to the Latinoamerica tour, is looking forward to his next month with his young son, Cam, and wife, Leah, back in Chattanooga.
“I’m going home and being a dad and a husband,” said Apyan. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The two runners-up played solid golf. Jennings had the round of the day with an 8-under 64 and was the leader in the clubhouse at one point at 13-under before Weems posted a 5-under 67 to tie him. Weems had been solo second after the first round Thursday.
Local favorite and Mount Mercy Mens Golf Coach Luke Slaymaker shot a 2-under par 70 on Saturday and finished in a tie for 14th, his best ever showing in the GCRO. More on Slaymaker in an upcoming blog.
Greg Kopf (Topeka, Kansas) overcame a seven-stroke deficit and won the Seniors title with a 6-over 222. Marshall Gavre (Fairfield, Iowa) and Chuck Moran (Grinnell, Iowa) tied for second.
Eddie Doyle, who played on the Kirkwood Community College national team, won the amatuer title with a 1-over 73 and a 1-under 215 total. He beat Matt Junge by one shot. Junge shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday.
Don Wojciechowski resides in the Hunters Ridge Golf Course community and plays the course on a regular basis. He’s a former sports editor for a suburban Chicago daily newspaper and an avid golf fan.