It’s a pair of full-circle victories: both of the 2020 Northern Ohio Golf Association Player of the Year winners are also the winners of this year’s individual Great Lakes Auto Scratch Match Play Championships.
Brian Smith of Amherst and Oberlin Country Club earned just enough points from his individual and four-ball match play finishes to win the 2020 NOGA Player of the Year title. Smith slipped past the total put forth during a truly fine season by Michael Klaric III. The 2020 points list win gives Smith 9 NOGA POY titles!
On the Senior side, Solon’s Monty Guest was already a lock on the 2020 NOGA Senior Player of the Year title before earning both individual and team match play championships. It was a blow-out POY win for Guest, who ended the season with a whopping 360+ point lead.
If this pair of NOGA POY titles feels like déjà vu, it is: both Smith and Guest earned NOGA Player of the Year honors together previously in the same season in both 2015 and 2016:
2020 NOGA MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
SCRATCH INDIVIDUAL MATCH PLAY
No. 1 seeded Brian Smith earned a 4&3 win over Tim Skufca of Avon Oakes for the Great Lakes Auto Scratch Match Play Championship Division title. Smith also bested Dave Stover, Chris Okeson and Jason Stiwald on his way to the season-long win.
On the Senior side, Monty Guest defeated Larry Lahnan by forfeit for the championship match, as Lahnan injured his back right before the NOGA Fall Stroke Play event at Canton Brookside. The third-seeded Guest beat Mike Crawford, Tom Begley, Tom Laubacher and Brian Sparrow to get to the title match.
SCRATCH FOUR-BALL MATCH PLAY
Josh Clay and Kurt Peterson defended their 2019 NOGA team match play title, beating Brian Smith and Doug Barber in a back-and-forth championship match.
After taking the lead with a birdie on the par-5 17th hole, Clay made birdie on top of Barber’s birdie on the 18th hole to secure a 1-up victory — the largest lead either team had all day.
In the Senior Four-Ball final match, Jim Durr and Mark Guadagni (shown above as repeated Silver Lake club champs) defeated Club Walden’s Larry Lahnan and Fred Miller by a 3&2 total.
Both Lahnan and Miller were trying to compete through injury, but couldn’t muster enough fight over their talented rivals.
NET INDIVIDUAL MATCH PLAY
The No. 2 seeded Ken Bauza (22 handicap) defeated the 16th seed Mike Crawford (9 handicap) in a solid 4&2 victory for the NOGA Net Match Play individual title.
Bauza, who plays out of Ellsworth Meadows Golf Course in Hudson, won four of his five matches with relative ease, defeating Richard Bauschard 5&4, Ed Ruper 4&3, Thomas J. Jonozzo in 19 holes (not so easy), Jim Rosen 3&1, then Crawford for the title.
Net Four-Ball Match Play
The 10th seeded team of Gabriel Michel (7 handicap) and Craig Dunlap (10) def the No. 1 seeded team of Jay Yorty (12) and David Routh (15) in a tightly fought championship match, 1up.
On their way to the title, Michel and Dulap bettered William Bertemes + Chris Moehring 3&1, Jim Grosso + Joel Recht 2-up, Evan Lunde + Russ Bowen 5&4, and David Ehrman + Gordon Netschke 1-up in a tight semi-finals match, before taking down the top seeds in the championship match on the final hole.