Last Modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 12:13 PM
By Jim Gazzolo / American Press
As carts filled with fans circled the final green Sunday at Mallard Cove, everybody already knew the outcome of what they had come to see.
Unlike the year before, when three players went extra holes to decide the City Championship, this year’s winner was proclaimed many holes before.
So obvious was the outcome that those in the final group had already congratulated the champ before he ever teed off on the final hole.
However, Robby Going’s journey to his second city title really could be traced to two shots that sealed the deal.
Going won the championship Sunday by three strokes over Nathan Allen with a 6-under par 210. But it was two holes and two shots that made all the difference in the world.
Going’s first big shot came on the opening day of the 54-hole event.
Putting from about 40 feet away, Going hit his third shot on the Par-5 18th too hard. But instead of the ball flying past the hole, it hit the cup, kicked up a bit and bounced right in for an eagle.
“It was a lucky shot,” said Going. “I had that thing going so fast, like Mach 3. I just wanted it to hit the hole and slow down.”
Fast forward to the 10th hole Sunday for the second key shot. This time, Going was chipping from off the green and hoping to save par with an up-and-down.
Instead, his shot went straight into the cup for a birdie.
Any air left in those chasing him was let out of their golf bags.
“No way I was trying to make that shot,” said Going. “I just wanted to get it close. It was a lucky shot.”
Three strokes — the difference in the tournament — produced on two holes by a pair of “lucky shots” almost 48 hours apart.
“It is like that some times,” said Allen. “Sometimes the shots go in and sometimes they don’t.”
Going knows that as well as anybody.
A year earlier, he lost on the third playoff hole when his putt just missed and Jacob Lejeune’s didn’t.
“I have been on the other side,” said Going. “I know what it feels like. This is better.”
It was a feeling two years in the making. Going had finished second in the City Championship to Lejeune the last two summers.
“He has been close and today was just his day,” said Lejeune. “If anybody deserved this it was him.”
While he didn’t want to admit there was any extra motivation by his close loss a year earlier, it was on his mind after the opening round.
“You think about it,” Going said. “You hope to learn from it. You don’t think about it all year, but when the tournament starts I do remember it.”
He also appears to have learned from it.
The heat never seemed to get to him, nor did any of the pressure that can come from being the frontrunner.
After finishing his second round a stroke off Allen’s lead, Going said he preferred being in that position.
“I like chasing rather than being chased,” he said.
Going must not have liked it too much. Two holes into his final round he grabbed the lead for good. Then, after a sizzling 5-under 31 on the front nine, he was so far ahead of the field nobody was really chasing him.
“Not much you could do,” said Allen.
For Going, it is just about being competitive.
“I want to be in the hunt every year,” said Going. “That’s what makes it fun.”
A couple of key shots here and there don’t hurt either