LAS VEGAS, NV (October 11, 2009)--Steven Fink proved to be a quick learner on the golf course. He also learned to be mellower.
The 52-year-old Las Vegan made some adjustments to his swing as well as his attitude and it paid off Sunday as Fink won the Las Vegas City Amateur at Las Vegas Golf Club.
Fink, who shot a two-day total of 134 after posting a second-round 68, defeated Josh Vornsand on the first playoff hole by making a five-foot birdie putt on the par-4 311-yard No. 1.
"I had made bogey to start my round (Sunday) on that hole when I chunked it left," said Fink, who won the Scratch Division and captured the Southern Nevada Golf Association's third "major" of 2009. "So I wanted to keep it right. It went a little farther right than I wanted, but it worked out fine in the end."
Fink was about 80 yards away and hit a perfect sand wedge below the hole. Vornsand, who was tied for the lead after the first round with a 7-under 65, forced a playoff when he made birdie at No. 18.
But he had pulled his tee shot left and had to deal with a tree in order to reach the green. He couldn't get it close to Fink, landing 30 feet away. And while his birdie try had the distance, it went a couple feet right of the hole.
For Fink, winning was sweet redemption after struggling with his game earlier in the week. He had participated in the Senior Division on Thursday and Friday and did not contend. He was angry with himself because he knew he could play better. But he also knew he had to handle his emotions better on the course if he was going to have a chance against the younger players.
"I've been playing golf 47 years and I've always had trouble managing my emotions," Fink said. "But I was going to be calmer and not allow myself to get frustrated."
His emotions were tested early in Saturday's first round as he took a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 No. 2. Somehow, he didn't let the bad hole impact the rest of his round. He wound up with nine birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in carding a 6-under 66.
Sunday at No. 2, he made eagle, draining a 30-foot putt.
"I was so calm, it carried over (to Sunday)," Fink said. "That was an amazing turnaround when I made eagle at No. 2. It really gave me confidence for the rest of my round. It's very gratifying, very gratifying."
In the Net Division, Las Vegas' Jim Guy shot a 66 and finished with a two-day total of 137. The Senior Division was won by Doug Pool, who had a two-day total of 136, two shots ahead of Brady Exber. In the Super Senior Division, for golfers 60 and older, Joe Van Rhyn won with a two-day total of 143.
View results for Las Vegas City Amateur Golf Championship