By Rob Kiser
Brian Deal and Brian Robbins had played spectacular golf for 36 holes in the Echo Hills Club Championship.
Which made the way the playoff ended a little stunning.
The duo had combined for 21 birdies and two eagles in matching scores of 70 Saturday and 69 Sunday for 5-under par 139 totals to force a playoff.
“It was a lot of fun,” Deal, who would win on the first playoff hole with a par, said. “He (Brian Robbins) hit a lot of great shots and made a lot of birdies all weekend and so did I.”
But, on the 328-yard par-4 first hole in the playoff, both players drives found trouble.
Deal was in the trees left, about 60 yards from the hole, while Robbins was in the trees right, about 40 yards out.
Deal hit a wedge to the front of the green.
“I had room to get it over the tree in front of me,” Deal said. “I was more worried about getting it up too quick and hitting the tree I was under.”
Robbins, faced with a tough shot, caught the ball a little thin and bladed it over the green.
That left him an impossible pitch with the pin back right and his pitched rolled across the green and off.
He took the pin out, forcing Deal — who was away — to hit his 45-foot birdie putt.
“I was just trying to make sure I hit it on a good line and get it within a couple of feet,” Deal said.
He lagged the putt to four-feet, while Robbins’s chip was about eight-feet short, forcing him to hit his bogey putt first.
The putt slid just past the hole and Deal knocked in his par putt to finish off the win.
“Absolutely (he expected Robbins to make his putt),” Deal said. “He had made big putts like that all weekend.”
On Saturday, Robbins had shot 34-36 for his 70, while Deal shot 36-34 for his 70.
He eagled the 473-yard ninth hole and went eagle-birdie on the 160-yard 15th hole and 295-yard 16th hole to catch Robbins.
“I had doubled eight after I hit it in the hazard,” Deal said. “The eagle on nine kind of got me going.”
On Sunday, Robbins played a flawless front nine, with four birdies and five pars for a 32 to take a three-shot lead.
“He (Brian Robbins) got off to a great start again,” Deal said. “He played great golf all weekend, so I was three down at the turn.”
Deal got a birdie on the 472-yard par-5 12th to get within one.
“I got a pretty good break there,” Deal said. “I was maxed out with the club I had at 200 yards on my second shot. It hit the cart path and ended up on the green, 12-feet from the hole.”
Deal then birdied the 306-yard 14th, 15 and 16 to take a one-shot lead.
“I made three birdies in a row,” Deal said. “The first two gave me the lead.”
Robbins matched his birdie on 16 and came to the 506-yard closing hole trailing by one.
He hit a hybrid just short of the green on his second shot, chipped to six-feet and made the birdie putt to force the playoff before Deal picked up his second club championship.
“We both played really well,” Deal said. “The whole weekend was a lot of fun.”
Ben Gover had rounds of 73 and 71 for an even-par 144 and a third-place finish.
Jeff Jennings was fourth with a 156 total, while Kenton Kiser and Ryan Pearson tied for fifth with 165.
Mike Butsch followed up his gold medal performance at the Senior Olympics by adding another Senior Club Championship to his resume.
Butsch followed an opening round 79 with a 76 for a 155 total and a five-shot victory over Steve Hamant, who had matching rounds of 80 for a 160 total.
Marty Jackson finished third, with rounds of 84 and 77 for a 161 total.
In the first flight, JayDee Denson played a nearly flawless opening round and held on for the victory.
Denson had just three bogeys in an opening 74 and followed it with an 89 for a 163 total.
Rob Kiser finished second with rounds of 82 and 84 for a 166 total.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334,