By Rob Kiser
There is nothing “odd” about Andy Arp’s success in the President’s Cup at Piqua Country Club.
But, the odd-number years have worked out very well for Arp.
The current Piqua City champion — who won the President’s Cup in 2011 and 2013, added his third title Sunday, defeating Phil Kazer 4-and-3 in the 36-hole final.
And Arp would be the first to say that the match was tighter than the final score indicated.
“Kaz (Phil Kazer) is tough, he is really solid and very consistent,” Arp said.
But, Arp was able to ride the momentum of the final hole in the morning round to take control in the first nine of the final 18.
After Arp had taken a 3-up lead after 1o holes, Kazer had battled back to just 1-down after 15.
On the 555-yard par-5 16th, Arp took a 2-up lead and they halved 17.
“With my distance, I had an advantage on the par-5 holes,” Arp said. “That helped.”
It look like Kazer might finish the morning round just one down when Arp flew the green on the 400-yard par-4 18th and short-sided himself with a back pin.
But, Arp hit a great chip to get up-and-down for a par and stay 2-up.
“That was a huge up-and-down,” Arp said. “I put myself in a really tough spot. That definitely gave me some momentum going to lunch.”
“That was some up-and-down wasn’t it,” he said. “From where Andy (Arp) was there was little margin for error and he hit a great shot.”
Arp rode that momentum, going 3-under par on his first five holes of the second 18 to take a 5-up lead.
“I dug myself a hole,” Kazer said. “Andy (Arp) came out and played great.”
It started with a birdie on the 309-yard par-4 opening hole and ended with a a birdie on the 545-yard fifth hole, when Arp was just left of the green in two and chipped to 4-feet.
“That was big (birdieing the first hole),” Arp said. “I think was three-under on the first five. I really played well.”
He went 6-up on the 225-yard par-3 seventh.
Arp got up-and-down from the left bunker, while Kazer had to take one shoe off (because of the water) to chip from right of the green and was unable to make a par.
“At that point, par was my best friend,” Arp said.
Not that Kazer made it easy on him.
Kazer won the 516-yard par-5 eighth and 433-yard 13th with pars to get back within 4-down.
“I needed to make some birdies,” Kazer said. “I just couldn’t get my approach shots close enough to get any good looks.”
It looked like Kazer was about to win the 210-yard par-3 14th as well.
Kazer was in with par and Arp faced a 15-foot par-putt from the fringe, which he calmly rolled in to halve the hole.
“That was a great putt by Andy (Arp) there,” Kazer said. “He made a couple nice putts.”
“That was a big putt to make,” he said.
That made the match dormie and on the 436-yard, par-4 15th — with a brutal back pin — both players bogeyed, ending the match.
“That was a tough pin,” Arp said. “I knew I had a par-5 coming up, where I had an advantage. But, Kaz (Phil Kazer) really played well.”
Both players were put to the test in Saturday’s semifinals.
Arp held off Chris Francis 1-up.
Francis had won the 17th to get within 1-down before they halved the 18th.
“It was a real good match,” Arp said. “And this guy (pointing to Chad Sherrill) gave me a tough match last week.”
Kazer got past Dave Larger 1-up in 19 holes.
“We had a great match,” Kazer said. “I just moved back to the area three years ago. I was in the semifinals two years ago. I knew I would have to play great to beat Andy (Arp).”
Martha Flinn added to her legendary status earlier this summer, defeating Trish Bradley in the finals to win here 11th Women’s President’s Cup, going back to 1994.
As for Arp, he enjoyed every challenge in the tournament.
“This was a really good tournament this year,” Arp said. “There were a lot of close matches and a lot of good competition.”
And in the end — there was nothing “odd” about the champion.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.