For 71 holes, David Griffith of Broadview Heights played the steadiest of every competitor in the 2008 Greater Cleveland Amateur Championship field. But on the 72nd hole, one swing opened the door to three other players, and Kyle Cobb of Strongsville took advantage.
Griffith came to the final hole at Manakiki at 1-under par for the tournament and two shots in the lead after playing solid golf on a chilly, windy and occasionally wet day. But Griffith pulled his tee shot into the trees along the left of the 18th fairway and lost his ball in the ground cover. He had to return to the tee and suffered a double-bogey at the last, finishing the tournament at 1-over par 217.
2008 Sleepy Hollow course champion Nick Latimer from Kent, playing along side Griffith in the final group, launched his tee shot high and to the right into the trees, and it appeared he suffered the same fate as Griffith. But a marshal spotted his ball high up on the hill, and Latimer slashed it out of the scrub, across the cart path and into the fairway, inside 100 yards. From there he hit a great wedge shot to 3 feet and made the putt for an improbable par, to finish at 217 as well.
In the groups ahead, Cobb and two-time Cleveland Am champ Brad Steven of Concord tied for the low round of the day, each shooting 2-under par 70. Both players made the turn at 1-over par 37 for the front nine, but then both started a run.
Steven made birdie at the difficult tenth hole, then made eagle at the par-5 12th. Cobb, a junior-to-be at Cleveland State, birdied both of the back-to-back par fives at 12 and 13, then had the break of the tournament: a birdie at the par-3 15th from a tee shot that flew well into the wooded hillside left of the green, bounced out, and rolled to just a few inches for a tap-in. Both Steven and Cobb shot 3-under par 33 on the final nine, and a 217 total.
As the four-man playoff started, it began to rain and quickly turned into a downpour. All four players hit their tee shots to the 10th fairway in a deluge. Griffith and Steven went left behind a mound that blocks the green, while Latimer and Cobb found the right rough, but with an open shot. Then play was suspended due to lightning.
After an hour delay, the foursome returned to the 10th fairway, where Griffith and Steven laid up to just outside of 100 yards. Latimer hit his second in the right fringe just above the hole, then Cobb hit a solid shot to the center of the green, about 15 feet left of the hole and straight up the hill.
After misses by the other players, Cobb center-cut his birdie putt and made a small fist pump to claim the 2008 Greater Cleveland Amateur Championship.
A special congratulations to Tom Kochensparger and Mike Raby for conducting a great tournament, and to the Manakiki golf course maintenance staff for the incredible conditioning. The greens were the talk of the players, as they were smooth, rolled close to 11 on the stimp and were in “country club condition”.
. . .
2008 GREATER CLEVELAND AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
FINAL RESULTS, AUGUST 8 – 10
Manakiki Golf Course, Willoughby Hills, Ohio
6,625 Yards, Par 72
|Pos||Player||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||TOTAL|
— Allen Freeman