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August 2011

Ailes repeats as champ at Bobcat Open

Tim Ailes

Tim Ailes tees off on hole No. 7 during the Bobcat North Dakota Open on Sunday at Fargo Country Club. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

They were tied heading down the homestretch.

Brandon Crick was walking off the final-hole tee box at the Fargo Country Club when he studied the action on the adjacent green. Tim Ailes, meanwhile, was looking at the players in Crick’s group. Both players were leaderboard watching.

“Oh yeah, big time,” Ailes said. “I was looking anywhere to see a score.”

When Ailes finally saw his tap-in putt on the 54th hole go in, the Bobcat North Dakota State Open had a repeat champion. Playing the back nine first, Ailes can look back at a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8 as the difference. It circled half of the cup before dropping.

He won $10,000 plus a $4,500 sponsorship from Bobcat for PGA Tour qualifying school. His 1-under par 68 (the Country Club was shortened to a par 69 because of the flood) was one shot better than Crick, who closed with a 64 on a day when two former Fargo players made hard charges.

But No. 8 did not treat David Schultz and Josh Persons as kindly as it did Ailes. Persons drove the green, but couldn’t capitalize and finished four shots behind Ailes after a double bogey on No. 9.

Persons had seven birdies and an eagle in his 63.

Schultz missed a 10-foot birdie putt that would have pulled him within a shot of Ailes. He was six-under at one point before a bogey on the final hole. Schultz also missed makeable putts on Nos. 1 and 2 and 7.

“My ball striking had a real, real low round in it,” he said. “The putter … I did all I could. I felt good standing over them, they just didn’t drop.”

The Bobcat win further accentuates Ailes’ success in the Dakotas Tour the last two summers. The logical next step is the Nationwide Tour, but the roadblock is Q school. He made it past pre-qualifying last year but didn’t get by the first stage.

“Hopefully this will be my year,” said Ailes, from Lewis Center, Ohio.

As for Crick, the 23-year-old from McCook, Neb, chalked up the final two holes as a learning tool. He made bogey on the last hole, making it easier on Ailes.

“I can’t complain, I had a poor opening round followed by two solid rounds,” Crick said. “It was a growing experience for me.”

Note: The above article was written by Jeff Kolpack of The Forum newspaper. The story appeared in the August 29th, 2011 edition.