Tim Belden has joined his father, Dave, as a multiple winner of the Mills Creek Championships with a convincing victory Saturday at the city-owned municipal course.
Belden, 30, rolled to a 12&11 win over Gabe Zeller in the scheduled 36-hole title match for his second crown. He also won in 2009 and was runner-up on two other occasions (2002 and 2010).
The 2002 Port Clinton graduate, who now lives in Castalia, started bogey-bogey but sank nine birdies in the next 23 holes to match his father’s number of titles at two. Dave Belden, 57, ruled the event in 1998 and 2007.
“I bogeyed the first two holes but so did he and I was 5-up after the first nine and 9-up after 18. I played well and also made a lot of putts” said Belden.
Belden, who had a one-under-par 35 on the first nine, won the third hole with a par, tied No. 4 with another par, then earned honors on Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8 with birdie-par-par-birdie and halved No. 9 with another birdie.
“I shot 75 for the first 18 and was nine down. There was no way I was going to beat Tim the way he played today” said Zeller, a 2000 Sandusky High School graduate, who was playing in his first championship match.
On the second nine, Belden fired a three-under-par 32 to build a sizable lead with birdies on Nos. 3, 5, and 9.
“After the first two holes I had the nine birdies and did not make any mistakes. I like this course and seem to play well every time I play here” added Belden who was the leading qualifier in the tournament in 2013 with a sizzling 65 and repeated earlier this monthwith a 70.
“I had four birdies today and won just one hole, No. 6, the third time around. That should tell you how good (Belden) played” said Zeller, 32.
“Overall, though, I did not putt well and Tim seemed to drain any putt he looked at” Zeller added.
Tim Belden is also a five-time Catawba Island Club champion and has reached the semifinals again this year. Dave Belden, who lost in the opening round of match play, has 18 titles to his credit.