In the early morning hours of Sunday, golfers started their tournament action in the 86th edition of the Record-Courier Portage County Amateur.
Tackling Oak Knolls Golf Club in Kent for the second of two rounds that started Saturday at Windmill Lakes, the end of the day resulted in champions crowned in three divisions.
Continuing the unique tradition of the tournament, golfers are placed in two divisions, honoring the golfers that compete from Portage County but giving golfers from Ohio the chance to play in the event in the Open Division.
All golfers play from the same yardage from the tournament tees, at Oak Knolls that is 6,883 yards from the tournament shot.
Luke Liberatore of Kent captured the title, remaining at the top after leading the field on Saturday with his sparkling 71, one-over-par at Windmill.
Adding a 76 at Oak Knolls in the downpour that soaked the final championship threesomes on the course, Liberatore still managed to hold on to the title over a surging Rob Schustrich of Windham who added a 74 to his 75 from the previous day for a 149 total, just missing his fifth amateur title by two strokes.
Liberatore, who played high school golf for Walsh Jesuit High School leading the Warriors to the state tournament in 2013, said his drives were good but he couldn’t putt on the final day, missing several, what he considered, easy birdies.
Schustrich called it when he walked in the clubhouse prior to Liberatore’a arrival.
“I think I missed it by a couple strokes,” said Schustrich after he bogeyed the 17th hole on his way into the clubhouse.
Two-time County Division champion Bud Radis remained steady on the final day, adding a 75 to his opening day 75 for a 150, missing the championship by three strokes and second place by a stroke.
Radis just completed his four-year collegiate golf career at the University of Miami where he continued golfing after playing for the Aurora Greenmen.
Rounding out the top five were Evan Ferrara of Kent, a recent graduate of Kent Roosevelt who is headed to play for the College of Wooster in the Fall and Scott Schroeder of Aurora, the first day runner-up.
Ferrara turned in the low round of the day in the County division, carding a 73 for his 153 total while Schroeder added an 80 at Oak Knolls to score the identical two-day total of 153.
Ferrara earned fourth through a scorecard playoff that saw Ferrara have the lowest score on the final nine holes.
Ed Marsinek of Ravenna, in third place after the first day, struggled to an 82 on his final day falling to sixth place.
Firing the low score of the tournament was Jake Appleby of North Canton who finished with a 146 total after carding rounds of 72 and 74.
Appleby, who was on the roster at Marshall University last season but has transferred to the University of Akron to play golf for the Zips in the Fall, said he had not played Oak Knolls for a while.
“I played Oak Knolls in high school but it has been several years,” said Appleby whose playing partners said his drives were straight down the fairway every time.
Appleby played high school golf for Hoover High School out of Canton.
In second behind Appleby was Raul Mendozza of North Lawrence, scoring a two-over-par 74 on his final day for a two-day total of 150.
Mendozza of North Lawrence is new to tournament golf having taken up the game only eight years ago but he has mastered it quickly.
Brian Smith of Amherst, two-time Amateur Open champion; Dean Cutlip of Copley, also a former Amateur champion and Dustin Buehler of Akron who was an individual state qualifier from St. Vincent-St. Marty to the state tournament in 2015.
Smith cared a 74, Cutlip a 76 and Buehler a 78 on their final day of competition in the Amateur.
Macie Hysell, on the roster for Notre Dame College varsity women’s golf team this fall, won the Women’s Division and successfully defended her title after shooting scores of 79 and 80 on her way to a 159 two-day total.
Hysell topped Tracy Moore, a former Amateur champion, who finished in second with a two-day total of 207.
Macy McClure rounded out the top three women, scoring a 216. McClure will play varsity golf for the Southeast Lady Pirates this fall.
The Record-Courier Portage County Senior Amateur is the final tournament of four under the direction of the Portage County Amateurs. The Senior takes place at Oak Knolls and Windmill Lakes the final full weekend of August.
The 87th Record-Courier Portage County Amateur will again compete in 2017 on the final weekend of July.
* Chad Brazill of Streetsboro competes in the Portage County Amateur every year and this season was no different. Except many people might have dropped out. Brazill had just been in an ATV accident two weeks ago that left his leg bandaged and hurting but that didn’t deter him from playing in one of his favorite events. Brazill said he was celebrating his highest score in the Amateur. It was a victory that he was able to complete the 36-hole tournament.
* Dads were the favorite choice of caddie for many of the golfers as Mickey Marozzi, Portage County Engineer, caddied for his son Anthony who finished in eighth place; Don Boland of Rootstown caddied for his son Michael, also of Rootstown as Mike improved eight strokes on his second day; and Mike Lenartowicz of Canton had his dad on the bag for the golfer who played his collegiate golf for Walsh University.
* The family connections included Mike Avalon, fourth place in the recent Matt Mishler Junior Portage County Amateur boys 16 to 18 division, caddying for his brother, Alex. Runner-up Rob Schustrich also made it a family affair as his sons Mike and Robbie competed in the County Division.
* Jaret Golgosky who played on the varsity golf team for Rootstown competed in the Matt Mishler Junior Portage County Amateur on Monday and Tuesday and then decided to return to compete in the Amateur this weekend. It is dedication to the game he loves for Golgosky because he had to move his graduation party to later in the day on Sunday so he could play.
* It seems there is a mini-celebrity in the midst of the players competing in the Record-Courier Portage County Amateur. Haroon Ismail of Youngstown returned to compete this season. The soft-spoken golfer has not always been a golfer, picking up the game later in life. But he does have his own Wikipedia page since he was a professional tennis player in the 1980s. Ismail was ranked 95 in the world and was the runner-up in the 1980 Dutch Open, played at Wimbledon, and qualified through two rounds at the French Open. He played college tennis at Southern Methodist University.
* Demonstrating what the Amateur is all about, Eric Rush of South Euclid and Daniel Schlue of Akron were paired together in the Open Division and each took 89 shots to work their way around Windmill Lakes. But it didn’t matter. “This guy is awesome,” said Schlue about his pairing-partner Rush. The two seemed to become fast friends although they had never met before. “It was the best 89 I ever shot,” said Rush. It showed what most golfers already know, competitors in the Amateur are just looking to play a great round of golf, meet new people and compare their golf game to the best northeast Ohio has to offer.
2016 Record Courier Portage County Amateur Championship
Windmill Lakes Golf Course, Ravenna | Par 70
Oak Knolls Golf Course, Kent | Par 72
July 30 – 31, 2016
Luke Liberatore, Kent 71-76 147
Rob Schustrich, Windham 75-74 149
Bud Radis, Aurora 75-75 150
Evan Ferrara, Kent 80-73 153 (36)
Scott Schroeder, Aurora 73-80 153 (39)
Mike Rezabek, Ravenna 77-77 154
Ed Marsinek, Ravenna 73-82 155
Anthony Marozzi, Ravenna 79-77 156
Dave Fall, Windham 87-73 160
Jeff Eckenwiler, Ravenna 80-82 162
Nick Polichena, Ravenna 80-82 162
Pat Camillo, Mogadore 80-84 164
Michael Boland, Rootstown 86-78 164
Mike Schustrich, Windham 85-82 167
Randy Wilburn, Deerfield 83-86 169
Alex Avalon, Aurora 86-83 169
Travis Stein, Mogadore 90-84 174
Jason Miller, Mogadore, 87-89 176
Nate Wachtel, Streetsboro 89-89 178
Ben Jenior, Rootstown 85-94 179
Evan Chapple, Rootstown 90-90 180
James Workman, Garrettsville 98-86 184
Bailey Campbell, Mogadore 94-92 186
Randy Rue, Kent 94-95 189
Randy Rue, Kent 94-95 189
Paul Harris, Ravenna 91-99 190
Chad Brazill, Streetsboro 102-89 191
Joseph Knight, Kent 99-93 192
Kiel Sever, Ravenna 102-90 192
Jaret Golgosky, Rootstown 94-100 194
Robbie Schustrich, Windham 102-93 195
Jake Appleby, North Canton 72-74 146
Raul Mendozza, North Lawrence 76-74 150
Brian Smith, Amherst 78-74 152
Dean Cutlip, Copley 78-76 154
Dustin Buehler, Akron 77-78 155
Brant Harbert, Akron 80-76 156
Mike Lenartowicz, Canton 75-82 157
Alex Talbot, Uniontown 76-82 158
Andrew DeLaat, Medina 77-81 158
Michael Furey, Twinsburg 79-79 158
Jamison Wood, Strongsville 81-78 159
Andrew Malkus, Maple Hts. 79-81 160
Mark Thomas, Massillon 80-81 161
Troy Luckenbaugh, Uniontown 84-78 162
Tom Jalbert, Akron 86-79 165
Rob Loomis, Akron 79-87 166
Michael Onorato, North Royalton 89-77 166
Bruce Bailey, Akron 85-83 168
Jake Holland, Akron 85-84 169
Derek Sibit, Akron 89-80 169
Aaron Davis, Stow 85-85 170
Andrew Thomas, Silver Lake 85-90 175
Josh Smith, Akron 89-87 176
Eric Rush, South Euclid 89-88 177
Haroon Ismail, Youngstown 88-89 177
Daniel Schlue, Akron 89-88 177
Jared Tentler, Akron 87-91 178
Ransom Lane, Solon 92-88 180
Caleb Halliwell, Sterling 92-93 185
Mike Brenner, Macedonia 98-85 183
Avery Schlue, Akron 95-89 184
Macie Hysell, Ravenna 79-80 159
Tracy Moore, Ravenna 107-100 207
Macy McClure, Southeast 107-109 216
Content by Susan Jenior, republished courtesy of the Record-Courier