Tim Heath was consistently good for a finish around the top 10 and sometimes even better in five years playing the Senior City Golf Championship. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride — at least until Sunday. Heath out-dueled defending champion John Kaposta in a one-hole playoff at Fendrich Golf Course to win the Romain Buick Senior City Golf Championship, his biggest win outside of Helfrich Hills club championships in 30 years playing golf. "I feel like I paid my dues," said Heath, who carded a even-par 70 to Kaposta's 69 on Sunday, "and that I belong up there with the (1984 City champion) John Kaposta and (nine-time City champion) Kevin Wassmer — well, not quite Kevin Wassmer — but I feel like I'm coming into where I need to be."
Heath capitalized when Kaposta found a green-side bunker at the par-four 10th hole, then positioned his approach inside Kaposta's chip out of the sand. The New Harmony native missed a putt to win on the 18th and another that would have moved him a stroke ahead through 17. But Heath had two chances to hole out in the playoff, eventually scoring a par ahead of Kaposta's bogey to win the two-day tournament. "The bad shot was my tee shot," Kaposta said. "I didn't make a good swing and ended up in the rough over there, which was really thick and heavy. I couldn't get my club on it enough. "But good for Tim.
He got through it, did it, and he deserves it." Heath's opening-round 3-under 69 on Saturday at McDonald Golf Course gave him a one-stroke lead over Kaposta entering Sunday. Both carded two-day totals of 139, followed by Jim Atkins' 141 in third and a twoway tie for fourth between 2010 champion Robin Rubrecht and tournament administrator Dave Bates at 143. Kaposta dominated the 2011 final round, shortened to nine holes because of rain, and finished ahead of a trio tied for second that included Heath.
The two know each other well after years playing in the Senior City and in the same group at last year's Courier & Press City Tournament. "It's an honor to beat (Kaposta), and it takes everything you can to get there," Heath said. Heath, who will retire from his job at UPS in nine months, collected a $600 gift card with the win and will have his name engraved on the Jerry Schreiber Cup, named for the nine-time City champion. Flight winners collected $400 apiece out of the $9,000 purse payout. The 55-year-old Heath played to his strengths in the final round: accuracy along with making fairways and greens. "I'm not the longest hitter out here, but I'm fairly straight," he said.
Those qualities came in handy on the back nine at Fendrich as Kaposta missed fairways at 16, 17 and 18. Heath's bogey on 16 created a tie but finally, on the playoff 10th hole, Kaposta missed another fairway and couldn't recover. "It's never over with John," Heath said. "That's the beautiful thing about John Kaposta." Kaposta won the Frances leming Flight (ages 50-54), and Rubrecht's 143 topped the Billie Martin Flight (55-59), with Heath as the overall winner. Atkins led the Bob Hamilton Flight (60-64) with a 141, Michael Hurt the Richie Moore Flight (65-69) and Don Shull the Ed Wolf Flight (70-plus).