Chippewa Golf Club Doylestown OhioJim Krivanek took a three shot lead into Sunday of the 2018 Chippewa Championship, posting Saturday’s only under-par round with a 70.

Krivanek had never won this tournament, but a number of players right on his tail had: Ty Kovach, Aaron Crewse, Howard Clendenin, Dave Trier, John Kabasky, Shaun Kloetzer.

As is always the case at the Chippewa Championship, they would all jockey on the front side on Sunday, then see who would close at the end. Krivanek would need to go out and win the tournament. He’d need to beat all of the past champions.

Krivanek’s closest pursuer was Rob Schustrich, another past victor who has been on a winning run of late. Schustrich sat in second place at 73 after round one.

Starting Sunday, Krivanek played well and didn’t help out any of his chasers on that front nine. He turned in 1-over par then made birdie at the par-5 11th to get back to even.

Playing along side Krivanek, Schustrich played a sold front nine too, and made birdie at 10. But he hadn’t closed the gap at all. Meanwhile, most of the other challengers were dropping off one by one. The two leaders simply played par golf to separate themselves.

Then in the middle of the back nine, Krivanek started to get a little shaky. “Choking” was what he called it (followed by a loud, funny gagging noise). A couple of “shakies” on 12 through 14 let Schustrich slowly get closer. The three shot lead went to two, then one.

Playing the 15th hole now trailing by only a single shot (and perhaps smelling blood for the first time), Schustrich hit a spectacular second from the fairway to 10-feet pin-high left, keeping it on the proper level. Krivanek responded by hitting his second from the fairway directly over the top of the flag, also on the proper level. About 18 feet. Directly above the hole. A no-no at Chippy.

Trying to make hay, Krivanek still went after the birdie and nearly holed his putt. But ‘nearly’ doesn’t cut it on the tilted 16th. The miss rolled off the green, all the way to the front rough. Krivanek chipped back up, mistakenly going past the hole again, to 9 feet this time. All while Schustrich watched.

It looked like Krivanek’s long-held lead was about to be over.

But Rob got a bit greedy with his birdie putt, too, going more directly at the hole in trying to make it than swoop-lagging it in. When it missed left because of too much pace, his ball also rolled off to the front edge just like Krivanek’s had.

Rob Schustrich 2018 Chippewa Championship
Schustrich walks to grab a wedge while his ball rolls slowly off the front of 15 green.

Schustrich walked away annoyed, grabbed a wedge, and hit a great chip back to within two feet, below the hole.

Krivanek cozied down the 9-foot putt he had left himself, then tapped in for double. Schustrich tapped in as well, for bogey.

Now they were tied.

On 16, there was nothing spectacular about either player’s tee shot. But their second shots determined the outcome of the event.

From the right rough, Schustrich flared his second shot just a bit short and right — not too far offline really, hitting the proper miss.

Krivanek took a different tact: he went directly at the flag. From a downhill lie in the rough, Krivanek hit a mid-iron to 12 feet left and slightly short of the hole. The ball stopped right where it hit. The crowd around the green cheered the bold play.

Schustrich chipped up to about six feet, still wisely below the hole. Par looked likely.

Jim Krivanek birdie putt 16
Jim Krivanek holes his birdie putt at the 16th to reclaim the lead at Chippewa.

Then Krivanek took Step One to winning the tournament: he buried the birdie putt center cut. He now had a one shot lead.

But then the eyebrows-up surprise of the day occurred, as Schustrich narrowly missed his par putt on the high side.

Rob Schustrich 2018 Chippewa Championship
Rob Schustrich just misses his par putt at the 16th.

Now, suddenly, Jimmy had a two shot lead with two to play.

Krivanek navigated the final two holes like a smart man playing with the lead. His tee shot at the par-3 17th was short-left and just off, giving himself plenty of green for a chip-and-putt par. Schustrich went deep with this tee shot trying to make up ground, and the error was his demise. He caught a break in finding the walkway to the 18th tee behind that green, but he still couldn’t recover and made double.

On 18, from the far-back tee box, Krivanek took the safe route down 10. He hit a hybrid over the pines to about 20 yards short. He pitched on from there to about 10 feet. Then he made a solid par putt to close out the victory in style.

Playing in the group just ahead of the leaders, Green’s Aaron Crewse battled the tough setup, chipping and putting his way into a tie for Sunday’s low round with Shaun Kloetzer, a 73. That finish made Crewse the leader in the clubhouse for awhile, and a contender until Krivanek’s spectacular final three hole finish.

Aaron Crewse
Aaron Crewse posted a Sunday 73 to slide into second place.

But Crewse simply started Sunday too far behind, giving up six shots after round one. The final gap was four shots, with Crewse in second place. Schustrich finished third one behind that, and Kloetzer’s 73 jumped him into fourth place.

In the end, Jimmy Krivanek played the last three holes at Chippewa better than everyone else. He won the tournament by force of will and a clutch iron shot from the rough on 16. He closed out the tournament making birdie-par-par on a stretch of holes where bogey-bogey-bogey was common. His name is now on the champion’s list.

2018 CHIPPEWA CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTO GALLERY >

Everything about the Chippewa golf course was in spectacular condition for the two-day event, even with nearly 3 inches of rain overnight Saturday. Fairways, tees and greens, all top notch.

As always, the two-days of food for the tournament was flat-out perfect, too. Chef-level delicious.

The Chippewa Championship is a great tournament value from start to finish. For that, we thank you, Kevin Larizza!

 Jim Krivanek and Kevin Larizza
2018 Champion Jim Krivanek accepts the trophy from Chippewa CEO Kevin Larizza

Chippewa Golf Club Doylestown Ohio
FINAL RESULTS:
2018 Chippewa Championship

Chippewa Golf Club, Doylestown OH
August 25 – 26, 2018

 

Jim Krivanek 70 – 75 = 145 $500
Crewse, Aaron 76 – 73 = 149 $300
Schustrich, Rob 73 – 77 = 150 $200
Kloetzer, Shaun 78 – 73 = 151 $125
Clendenin, Howard 76 – 76 = 152 $37.50
Hepner, Tim 76 – 76 = 152 $37.50
Okeson, Chris 74 – 80 = 154
Trier, Dave 76 – 78 = 154
Li, Tommy 78 – 77 = 155
Kovach, Ty 74 – 82 = 156
Smith, Brian 76 – 81 = 157
Kabasky , John 78 – 79 = 157
Spino, Bobby 81 – 77 = 158
Haynes, Nolan 79 – 80 = 159
Prok, Josh 81 – 78 = 159
Schneidner, Mark 81 – 79 = 160
Miller, Fred 77 – 84 = 161
White, Ryan 77 – 85 = 162
Koprivec, Kenny 79 – 83 = 162
Cutright, Cody 80 – 82 = 162
Gasser, Matt 81 – 82 = 163
Watkins, Tyler 81 – 84 = 165
Nixon, Brendon 81 – 85 = 166
Simpson, Mike 81 – 86 = 167
Kachurchak, Brandon 83 – 85 = 168
Strang, Lance 79 – 90 = 169
Jeff, Jersey 81 – 88 = 169
Loomis, Rob 83 – 87 = 170
Vellios, John 84 – 86 = 170
Cutlip, Dean 87 – 83 = 170
Feist, Steve 90 – 80 = 170
Wenger, Jeff 80 – 91 = 171
Rybka, Russ 87 – 84 = 171
Nalepa, Shane 80 – 92 = 172
Berkheimer, Dennis 85 – 87 = 172
Cunningham, Ron 91 – 81 = 172
Niskanin, Jim 85 – 88 = 173
Detweiler, Aaron 78 – 96 = 174
Ream, Tom 85 – 90 = 175
Stewart, Brad 88 – 89 = 177
Sovak, Brian 81 – 97 = 178
Troutman, Ken 88 – 90 = 178
Toth, John 87 – 93 = 180
Krotky, Kevin 93 – 88 = 181
Larizza, Kevin 101 – 81 = 182
Breen, Kevin 91 – 94 = 185
Lee, Chris 92 – 93 = 185
Smiley, Brett 97 – 88 = 185
Corneilius, Bob 91 – 95 = 186
Hardwick, Jordan 91 – 95 = 186
Foschia, Nick 86 – 103 = 189
Zheng 95 – 95 = 190
Vellios, Yianni 95 – 99 = 194
Mckenzie, Joe 95 – 102 = 197
Baksa, Bill 107 – 92 = 199
Wild, Jimmy 81 – NC
Harmon, Bobby 82 – NC
Thomas, Mark 82 – DNS
Gota, Dave 84 – NC
Berkheimer, Bob 81 – NC
Mendoza, Raul 83 – NC
Fleming, Doug 87 – NC
Freeman, Al 87 – NC
Karamas, John 89 – NC
Murphy, Mike 90 – DNS
Nemeth, Joe 91 – DNS
Jones, Adam 96 – DNS
Bishop, Shane NC – NC
Armour, Mike DNS
Arnold, Timothy DNS
Griffith, Austin DNS
Grosso, Jim DNS
Skorman, Randy DNS
Sullivan, John DNS
Terry, Dan DNS
Markham, Tom WD WD

 
TOURNAMENT SKINS: $360 ea

Saturday:
Hole 5 – Tim Hepner (3)
Hole 6 – Nick Foschia (2)
Hole 8 – Bob Berkheimer (3)
Hole 16 – Matt Gasser (3)

Sunday:
Hole 3 – Aaron Detweiler (3)
Hole 6 – Shayne Bishop (2)
Hole 12 – Aaron Detweiler (2)
Hole 13 – Shayne Bishop (3)
Hole 14 – Howard Clendenin (3)

 

(Want to understand how much the golf gods were smiling on Krivanek? Go back to the top and look at the featured photo of Jimmy holing his winning putt. Look just to the left of his putter. That’s a monarch butterfly flying just behind him to make some wing wind, helping push the ball into the right side of the hole…)

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