Ailes prevails in playoff

MARSHALL – After swapping low rounds on Monday and Tuesday, Tim Ailes and Paul Peterson entered the final day of the Dakotas Tour tournament at Marshall Golf Club tied atop the leaderboard. After seemingly matching each other shot for shot during their final round Wednesday, that’s exactly where the two men stood after 54 holes as well – tied atop the leaderboard.

Ultimately, a sudden-death playoff was required to separate the two, and even that lasted four holes until Peterson was unable to answer a par by Ailes on the par-3 fourth.

The win for Ailes, who had at least a share of the lead throughout the tournament, was his second in four events on the Dakotas Tour thus far in 2013. A tour veteran from Lewis Center, Ohio, Ailes said that a golfer has to have a different mindset in a playoff, but that he and Peterson had essentially been in a playoff since the day’s first hole.

“It’s kind of like match play. You’ve got to be aggressive when you can and put the pressure on them when you can, finishing the short putts first,” said Ailes, who also won the tournament back in 2006. “We didn’t make any putts, we were both kind of stale with the putters. But we both birdied 18 and he made a couple good up-and-downs on 17 and 18. Paul’s a solid player.”

Peterson, who shot a 65 on Tuesday to move into a tie with Ailes after 36 holes, posted a 1-under 70. Despite leaving some strokes on the golf course and falling short of his first tour win by one shot in a playoff, Peterson was pleased with how he finished his first tournament at MGC.

“Any time you make three bogeys, you left some out there. It was kind of back and forth for Tim and I today,” Peterson said. “We missed a bunch of putts, we both had some decent opportunities and weren’t able to capitalize. But it was a great tournament.

“I knew where we were at. I had a great up-and-down on 17 to keep myself in it,” he added. “When he hit it on the green on 18, I knew I had to get up and down. I felt like I was making up some shots when he was hitting some good ones. I felt like I finished strong and was happy with how I finished.”

Both Ailes and Peterson finished the tournament with 54-hole scores of 11-under-par (202), but each shot his worst round on Wednesday. A 1-under 70 for both men was largely the result of difficulties around the green.

“I was above the hole a bunch today and it’s always tough making downhill putts that are turning,” Peterson said. “That fourth playoff hole was very much like the round – just above the hole a lot, which you can’t do. It would have been nice to give myself a few more opportunities to putt uphill.”

Peterson three-putted for bogey on the final playoff hole, while Ailes tapped in a par putt for the win. The duo eagled both opening par 5s and parred the par-4 third.

Ailes had his lowest round on the opening day, ceding more shots to the course as the tournament progressed.

“I made some putts the first day, and the other two, I hit it well but I just didn’t make any putts. That’s golf,” Ailes said.

Jay Myers, who also shot a 65 on Tuesday, fired a final round 67 and finished two shots back of Ailes and Peterson in third place at 204. Jack Newman, of Des Moines, Iowa, finished in fourth at 7 under, while Plymouth-native Cam White took fifth at 6 under for the tournament. Chris Evans and Neil Johnson tied White for the low round of the day at 66, but finished a stroke back in a tie for sixth at 208. Matt Smith was even on the day and also tied for sixth. Brandon Crick, who was alone in second after a 5-under opening round, finished the tournament 4-under and in a tie for ninth with Tyler Gann to round out the top 10.

From Marshall the Dakotas Tour heads west to the Missouri River and Fox Run Golf Club in Yankton, S.D.