Terry Werner's skills got him some distance from an upstart opponent.
His nerves helped him keep enough of that distance.
Werner, 60, of Dyer, carded a 67 first-round score at the Indiana PGA Senior Open, held May 13-14 at Morris Park Country Club in South Bend. That gave him a two-shot lead over Fort Wayne pro Quinn Griffing atop a field of 74.
The following day, Ted Kaperak, of Terre Haute, surged to tie Werner at two-over par going into the final two holes. That's before Werner birdied the par 4 17th hole thanks to well-placed approach shot.
Kaperak bogeyed that same hole, giving Werner back the two-shot lead he had at the beginning of the day. But it was a long way from over as far as Werner was concerned.
"Of course I was nervous," Werner said about going into the final par 5 hole, "but I have played a lot of competitive golf, and I've been in situations like that before.
"You just don't want to do anything stupid at that point."
Werner didn't as he played it safe, two-putting for par to win his first Indiana PGA Senior Open title after Kaperak birdied the final hole only to come up one stroke short (141-142). Griffing finished third (143).
Werner is no stranger to victory. His first tournament win was in 1985 when he won the now-defunct Times Tournament. Since then, he has won other notable tournaments, including the Indiana PGA Northern Open in 1997, and the Indiana Senior Amateur Tournament twice.
One of Werner's biggest honors came last fall when the Indiana Golf Association honored him with the Clifford E. Wagoner Award, annually bestowed to a recipient who displays outstanding sportsmanship and high character on and off the course.
Werner says his game is as strong as it ever has been.
"I try to work to keep myself physically fit and eat correctly," he said, "and I practice far more than I play (competitively)."
Classified as an amateur, Werner still works for a living as he is employed at M & O Insulation Company based in Illinois. But sometimes the lines between work and play can be conveniently blurred.
"They have been very supportive of me," Werner says of his company. "Plus, whenever we're entertaining clients or potential clients, they usually have me golf with them to help build a better business relationship."