Weber wins South Dakota Open at The Bluffs after 3-hole playoff By Matt Dahlseid
Yankton Press & Dakotan Fifty-four holes were not enough to decide the winner of the South Dakota Open Pro-Am at The Bluffs Golf Course on Sunday. Jordan Weber needed three extra holes before he would be able to take home the trophy and the $12,000 first prize. Weber and his friend and competitor, Neil Johnson, both posted a 12-under 204 over three rounds to force the playoff. Both players had a shaky start to the playoff, as each of them bogeyed the par-4 first hole. Johnson had a short 4-foot putt for par to put the tournament away, but it lipped out. Weber, who lives in Cedar Rapids, IA where he graduated from Northern Iowa last spring, said both he and Johnson were showing the jitters that come along with playing in a sudden death playoff. â�?�?We were both a little nervous on that first hole, but I think we shook it off,â�? Weber said. Both players went on to come away with birdies on the par-5 second. On the par-4 third hole, Johnson gave Weber the opening he needed. Johnson hit his drive into the thick rough to the right of the fairway. When he arrived at his ball, he realized there was a grove of trees between himself and the green. His only option was to punch out into the fairway. Weber, on the other hand, hit the fairway off of the tee and knocked a short iron within five feet of the hole. With Johnson making bogey, Weber would have been able to two-putt from short range to win. He only needed one, as he drained the short birdie putt to seal the victory. Weber said the birdie was a great way to finish off his opponent on the last hole. â�?�?You watch Tiger play and thatâ�?�?s how he finishes (tournaments) off,â�? Weber said. â�?�?To do that the same way feels really good.â�? Weber and Johnson had to make their way up the leaderboard throughout the day just to make the playoff. Johnson was three strokes back to start the day. At one point on Sunday he was at 14-under, but gave two strokes back before finishing his round. Weber was just one shot back to start the day, but found himself three shots back early on as second round leader A.J. Elgert was 4-under on his day through his first seven holes. Then on the par-4 ninth, Elgert opened the door. He hit his tee shot out of bounds and ended up taking a triple bogey. Weber, who was in the group in front of Elgert and the second round leaders, said he knew something happened in front of him and that he was right back in the think of things. â�?�?After nine holes I thought I was three shots down and then a guy came and told me that AJ (Elgert) made a triple-bogey, so I knew I was tied for the lead,â�? Weber said. â�?�?I like to know where Iâ�?�?m at. Some people donâ�?�?t, but if I canâ�?�?t handle the pressure, I shouldnâ�?�?t be out here.â�? With two holes remaining, Weber realized he was again trailing. This time it was Johnson, who was in the group ahead of him, who had the lead. Weber made a clutch 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 17th to get to one shot back. He then knocked in a 6-foot birdie putt to force the playoff and win in just his second Dakota Tour event. The pros werenâ�?�?t the only ones to have a come from behind winner. The amateur champion also had some work to do at the beginning of the day to earn his title. Sioux Falls native Greg Kendall began the day in third place, three strokes behind two day leader and last yearâ�?�?s low amateur Jon Sorensen. Kendall worked his way to one shot behind Sorensen after the first twelve holes. Then on the par-4 13th there was a two shot swing, as Kendall managed a birdie and Sorensen took a bogey to relinquish his lead. Kendall then made a par saving up-and-down on the par-3 17th, where he said he knew he had the tournament won. Kendall ended the three day tournament at 4-under-par with a total of 212. Sorensen finished in second, three strokes back. Kendall, who has competed in many Dakota Tour pro-am tournaments throughout the years, said the length of The Bluffs Golf Course was the reason he was able to stay at the top of the leaderboard. Kendall gave compliments to course superintendent Mark Clark and his crew for having the course in wonderful shape. â�?�?Throughout the three days, I never had a bad lie,â�? Kendall said. â�?�?The course was in excellent condition. When I was on the greens it felt like I was putting on carpet.â�? â�?�?I loved the course and the fact that it played so short, since Iâ�?�?m 55,â�? Kendall said. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s hard for me to keep up with these kids distance-wise.â�? Kendall wasnâ�?�?t the only amateur to make some noise on the day. Ben Adamski, of Yankton, made his first-ever hole-in-one on the 143-yard par-3 12th.