Indiana Tournament of Champions: Hayden wins 3rd
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (May 4, 2013) -- It wasn’t pretty, but Ft. Wayne’s Joe Hayden found a way to hold off the competition and capture his third IGA Tournament of Champions at Fox Prairie Golf Course in Noblesville. Hayden finished the tournament with a two day total of 143, 1-over-par, which was good for a one shot lead over Noblesville’s Tyler Bale.

“I started off the day with an easy birdie and then I don’t think I hit a solid shot until the back nine,” said Hayden, from Fort Wayne, Ind. “I was able to turn it as the day went on and started hitting more greens.”

For the second straight day Hayden was not the picture of consistency. After firing an opening 69 on Friday that saw Hayden card 1 eagle and four birdies, Saturday was much the same story for Hayden and the rest of the field.

Hayden’s round was highlighted by an eagle 3 on the par 5, 12th. He also added a birdie on the par 5, 1st hole, as well as four bogeys and a double bogey on a day that saw the average round soar to over 78 for the 76 player field.

“Twelve was a real turning point for me,” Hayden said. “At that point I wasn’t so much worried about the guys in my group I was just trying to focus on staying positive. I knew I had an opportunity there with only 220 yards to reach the green in two. I hit a good shot and had a very straight forward chip that I was fortunate enough to make.”

Heading into the par 5, 12th hole, Carmel’s Tyler Bale had a two shot lead over Hayden, but after Hayden’s eagle chip-in and Bale’s missed birdie putt they were tied with six holes to play.

Both players went on to par holes 13 and 14.

On the par 4, 15th hole, Bale failed to convert a short putt and fell back to 2-over-par.

With a one shot lead, Hayden found the trees on his tee shot on 18, leaving him with an inhibited swing on his second shot. He was able to punch out but hit it slightly further left than planned and ended up in the greenside bunker, while Bale put his approach shot on the fringe just short of the green. Bale easily got up-and-down for par and Hayden needed to do the same in order to win.

“I had a difficult downhill lie in the bunker and I knew my only option was to completely open up my 60 degree wedge all the way,” Hayden said. “I took a full lash at it and it was the best result I could have expected leaving myself with a six footer. The putt was downhill right to left and not easy, but I knew I had to make it so I just didn’t waste any time and hit it right in the center of the hole.”

Hayden joins PGA Professional Chris Clemens as the only three time Tournament of Champions winner. His other titles came in ’09 and ’11.

“It feels awesome,” Hayden said. “It is such a great field and it means a lot to mean just to have qualified for this event. I look forward to it each year and I hope to play in it for many more to come.”

Five players tied for third with two day totals of 145, 3-over-par for the tournament. Those players included: Brian Harris, Tim Cobb, Kyle Cox, Brooks Synder, and Terry Werner.

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