By Gregg A. Sims
MONTGOMERY — Tim Ailes knew he had the shot. What he didn’t know was just how important that shot would be.
The Columbus, Ohio professional drew a 3-wood on the 18 tee in Sunday’s second round of the Baymont Inn and Suites Classic at Country Oaks Golf Club.
Ailes eagled the par-four 18th hole for a one-shot win over Rick Cochran who had already finished his round.
Facing a shot of 267 yards to the pin, 242 over water to reach the green, Ailes said there was little doubt in his mind what to hit.
“A stock 3-wood me for is about 255,” Ailes said. “I wasn’t really worried about it. As long as I hit it solid, I was going to get it over. I just wanted to make sure I could at least make birdie.” Knowing that he had a one-stroke lead over the members of his group, Ailes aimed at the green and landed the ball over the pin five-feet past the pin.
The ball checked 20-feet away.
Ailes believed a birdie would be a winner. He was leading his group by a shot and felt a birdie would give the victory.
The eagle was just icing on the cake until he discovered a birdie would have tied him with Cochran at 135.
“Apparently I was one-down heading into the hole,” Ailes said. “I knew there was a player in my group that was one behind me and I wanted to not give any room to breath. A two was better than a three, and a three was better than a four.” Facing an uphill putt that then broke left-to-right as it reached its peak before rolling down an incline, Ailes pumped his fist as the ball found the center of the cup.
“Yea, it was a tough putt,” Ailes said. “I just hit a putt perfectly right where I wanted and it went right in the middle.” It was a welcomed change of pace for the day-one leader who suffered with a cooler stick in the second round.
“I really hadn’t made a thing all day, and I felt I was due,” Ailes said. “I started well today (Sunday) with a couple of birdies - I was cruising along kind of nicely - and then I kind of stalled out. I was hitting greens, but not making anything. I wasn’t hitting the ball that close, and I had a lot of two putts. I finally made an eight-footer on 15 and then a nice one on 18.” Ailes opened the tournament with a one-shot lead over Michael Davan with a round of 65 to Davan’s 66. Cochran sat in a tie for third with Kevin Kring at 69.
“I was very stale on the front,” Ailes said of his first round. “On the back I birdied six of my last eight holes. I putted very well yesterday (Saturday). I kind of used them all up.” Cochran set the pace Sunday with a 66 to Ailes’ 69, but the final round from the two players left Ailes one-stroke up.
Davan shot 71 the second day to end in a tie for third at 137 with Brian Eaton who fired rounds of 70-67. Kevin Kring shot 69-70 for 139 and fifth.
The win was the second for Ailes at the Classic.
Oddly enough he won with an eagle on the final hole in his first victory in 2007.
“I was tied last time, and I knew that,” Ailes said. “I made it. I was kind of trying to just get it close, and it went it. I’ll take those at any time.” “We’ve got the Ohio Open next week, and I’ll be playing that,” Ailes said.
“After that, I head for the Dakotas Tour which lasts for eight or nine weeks.”