Piatz picks up second Pine to Palm Mid-Am title
Oxbow Country Club’s Perry Piatz completed a swift run through the Mid-Am bracket of the 85th Pine to Palm golf tournament and claimed his second championship victory in the past five years.
“I struggled early; we both made a couple bogeys early, but I just settled in and starting making the pars and playing solid,” said Piatz.
Michael Melhus had an intriguing week on the course displaying some brilliant shot making that produced low scores, but he also had rounds on the opposite side of the spectrum.
“He wasn’t playing his best today,” said Piatz. “I just played steady and made some easy pars. I was putting for a lot of birdies but didn’t make a whole lot.”
No. 2 Piatz had one close match on his trip to the finals, a 1-up quarterfinal victory over No. 7 Paul Uithoven. He escaped that match winning without a birdie on the scorecard.
“It’s always fun to win here and play here,” he said. “I love this course. It fits my game. I don’t hit it far, but I hit it straight. Yesterday, in my quarterfinal match I made 17 pars and a bogey.”
Piatz was second in qualifying finishing one stroke behind medalist Jason Justesen.
He took that momentum into match play recording a 7-5 win over No. 15 Tony Stein and advancing to the finals with the same score in defeating No. 3 Darren Haley.
In the finals, while both players struggled early in changing conditions from mist, to brief stints of sunshine, before rainfall later in the round, PIatz got up by one hole after six and two at the turn and picked up momentum leading 4-up on 13 and closing out the match a hole later. Melhus was unable to get his game going to extend the match.
“That’s how it goes out here sometimes,” Piatz said. “Sometimes you run into people making birdies like crazy and you can run into people who are struggling a bit. I was fortunate to be on that side.”
Piatz was consistent off the tee box and set himself up for success playing down the middle all week from a strong showing in qualifying 72-71-143 (+1) to notching a big win on Sunday.
“My driver was good all week,” he said. “I had to punch out one or two times all week. This course is a lot easier if you play from the fairway which I did a lot of. That was the key.”
Piatz earned his first Pine to Palm Mid-Am title in 2013