Norwalk Reflector: Eagle Creek's Lieber and Morgan win PGA Match Play title

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Eagle Creek's Lieber and Morgan win PGA Match Play title

By DON HOHLER • Oct 22, 2017 at 3:21 PM

CATAWBA ISLAND — Eagle Creek professionals David Morgan and Dustin Lieber meshed to near-perfection Thursday afternoon at the Catawba Island Club, winning the season-long Northern Ohio PGA Section Match Play championship.

The Norwalk pair won 3 & 2 over the Stone brothers, Mike from Belmont Country Club (Toledo) and Steve from Stone Ridge (Bowling Green).

The local duo got it done on the early strength of Lieber’s putting, and in the end, the short game from Morgan. The two held as much as a 6-up lead on the No. 12 tee.

“Dustin got us going with those two early putts,” Morgan said. “I started to help midway through the front with my ability to get it up and down. As has happened on all five matches, we picked each other up in key situations.

“I knew it was far to easy for us to go 6-up on those two,” he added. “The golf we saw early was very un-Stone-like. Both are fine players. Mike won the Toledo Open last year.They started to show us how they could play starting on No. 13. Had it not been for the clutch putt Dustin made on 13 to halve that hole, their rally would have started even earlier.

Lieber talked about what he called his “ugly putter.”

“It don’t look like the high-tech putters of today but it works for me,” he said. “I have tried others, but when the game is on, I put this one in the bag.”

Lieber, who has caved in three driver heads this year, also helped the team with some mammoth drives. He also held off the Stone brothers twice by himself after Morgan hit errant approach shots.

Back-to-back 10-foot birdie putts on 1 and 3 staked the team to an early 2-up lead. The two halved 4 and 5. Morgan was the only player with a realistic shot for par on 6. His chip shot second to within three feet on the 215 par 3 hole was key in the team going 4-up.

After No. 8 was halved with pars, Morgan made his first of two chip shots on 9, this one from 30-feet to make it 5-up at the turn. The team made the turn in 32 strokes as compared to 37 for the struggling Stone brothers.

The rout continued on No. 10, the 480-yard par 4 hole. It was Lieber’s two-putt from 25-feet that got it done, sending the team 6-up.

Lieber continued to make that ugly putter work as he rolled in a nine-foot putt on top of the birdie putt Steve Stone made from tap-in range. That kept the team 6-up going to 12 tee.

The Stones then won their first hole of the match on 12. With Morgan out of the hole because he hit into a water hazard with his second shot. Steve Stone jumped on the shot, hitting his approach to within eight feet and making the birdie putt.

The team halved 13 thanks to Lieber’s 18-foot birdie putt, a shot that trumped the approach by Mike Stone that almost holed out.

The fun began on 14, the 157-yard par 3. Mike Stone hit his tee ball to within 18 inches and made the putt. Then on the 167-yard par 3 No. 15, Mike Stone again rolled in the hole-winning putt — this time from 15-feet for birdie. The lead was now 3-up, even though Morgan and Lieber seemingly could not get even a tie to put it away.

And there was no reason to believe the match could not get even tighter after the second shots on the 388-yard par 4, No. 16 hole. Steve Jones had hit his approach shot to within four feet.

Lieber, after a colossal drive, hit it to within 20 feet while Morgan left his approach shot short of the green, 25-foot from the hole. That’s when lightning struck and he made his second chip-in of the round — this one for the win.

For the 23-year-old Lieber and 34-year-old Morgan, it was a $1,500 payday along with a ton of prestige.

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