Steve Blackburn Jr. of Willowick made it two years in a row, as he won The Greater Cleveland Skins Game Championship on a cold rainy night Thursday at Powderhorn Golf Course in Madison.
Paired together for the final round, Blackburn Jr. was in a tight race with Mike Angie, who was on top of the leaderboard for most of the year. But with a birdie skin at the short par four 13th hole ($153.33) and the pin shot on the 14th ($70), Blackburn pulled away for the season-long win, as Angie was shut out on the final night.
Blackburn Jr. set a new Greater Cleveland Skins Game money record with $1,622.32 for the 26 week season, while Angie finished a fine year with a hefty $1,331.58. Third place was nearly $600 behind that.
After the round, Blackburn Jr. complimented Angie. “I had fun battling it out with Mike. The second half of the season went back and forth. He would cash in and I would come right back the next week. Not one of us could pull away, so and it came down to the final night. Mike has a great short game and he was fun to watch around the greens. I never counted him out because at any time he was able to get the ball in the hole.”
“Repeating as champion was exciting,” Blackburn continued. “I enjoyed playing with Mike most of the year, as well as the other players who participated. Everyone in the field is trying to defeat you and I loved the challenge of it. It is not easy to repeat with the quality of players in this group.”
Ten die-hard players made it out to Powderhorn and played on a rainy 42 degree evening to compete in the final “Double Down” season-ending event. Eddie Neer had a big night, capturing two skins and moving up into third place in the final standings. Neer birdied the par five 16th hole and the par four 18th hole for skins.
Rob Skebe made it onto the leaderboard, grabbing the pin shot on 17.
After Blackburn Jr. popped the cork on the bottle of champagne and was awarded the Thompson Cup by Skins Game Director John Niedzialek, players toasted the 2009 champion. Greens fee awards provided by many of the participating courses were distributed to the players as a bonus.
In all, 32 players made their way onto the leaderboard in 2009, with a total skins purse of $8,875. Season-ending totals are posted below.
Blackburn Jr. also led the total number of skins for the season with 13, and tied with John Niedzialek as the pin shot leader with seven pin shots.
A special thanks to all the golf courses sponsoring the 2009 Greater Cleveland Skins Game. Players were treated to reduced green fees in many cases, and excellent conditions at all. The courses in the rota were Powderhorn, Chardon Lakes, Stonewater, Pleasant Hills, ThunderHill, Wicked Woods, Fowlers Mill, Quail Hollow, and Madison Country Club.
Next year will be the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Cleveland Skins Game! Be sure to check out the schedule next spring at Northeast Ohio Golf [www.neohgolf.com] in the early spring. All amateur players are welcome to participate in 2010!
FINAL: 2009 GREATER CLEVELAND SKINS GAME LEADERBOARD
|Player Name||Total||Skins||Skins $||Pins||Pins $|
|Steve Blackburn Jr||$1,622.32||13||$1,321.32||7||$301.00|
|Steve Blackburn Sr||$397.00||2||$397.00|