Twinsburg’s Sean McGuire cruised to victory.
Silver Lake’s Jim Durr grinded out a two shot win.
Different paths, but both were fun to watch.
The Northern Ohio Golf Association hosted its inaugural NOGA Tour Championship at Firestone Country Club on Sunday and Monday. The event featured the season-long points leaders from NOGA’s tournament series, in Championship and Senior (age 55+) Divisions.
Sunday’s first round was played at the open, treeless West Course, while Monday’s final round came at the world-famous, tour-event-hosting South Course.
Guess which one played more difficult.
McGuire shot 67 at the West Course and jumped out to a three shot lead over Amherst’s Brian Smith and four over Lyndhurst’s Chris Okeson after Sunday’s play.
But McGuire had a nightmare start on Monday, going 5-over par on his first four holes: bogies at 1, 2 and 4 sandwiching a double on 3. Jump-scare.
Smith’s start was only slightly better than McGuire’s nightmare: he also went bogey-bogey-double to begin. But Brian made a couple of pars after that to steady himself.
While the two leaders struggled, Okeson shot even par through the first five holes in that final group, and suddenly he found himself in the lead by two.
But from there, Okeson and McGuire went in completely opposite directions, while Smith never gained any traction.
Okeson made bogey on 7 and 8, then made only one par on his entire back nine. His seven-bogeys-and-a-double inward nine of 44 led to a score of 81, to which Okeson could only shake his head and say, “Just one of those days.”
Meanwhile, McGuire went from hacker to superstar starting on the South Course’s fifth hole. McGuire shot 2-under par from there, making birdie on the par-3 7th, the par-4 13th and the monster par-5 16th against a lone bogey at 11.
McGuire’s dash to victory gave him a 7-shot win over Smith, who held his schizophrenic round together just enough to get in the house with a 77.
On the Senior side, Silver Lake’s Jim Durr, Canton’s Nick Lambos and Cleveland’s David Stover battled across the back nine at the South Course to see who might win.
Lambos tossed an even-par 35 front nine at Durr and Stover, who shot 68 and 69 respectively on the West Course on Sunday to Nick’s 73. But Durr turned at 37 and Stover at 38, so Durr still lead somewhat comfortably.
But after Durr made bogeys at 10 and 11, the game grew tighter as Lambos made pars at 10 through 12.
Stover made pars at 10 and 11 to get right in the mix, but after that couldn’t capitalize: he made bogey at 12, 14 and 15 to fall away.
A bogey by Lambos at 13 hurt. A Durr bogey on 14 took away the sting. Then a great birdie-2 at the par-3 15th by Lambos, and suddenly he and Durr were tied.
Durr answered — and likely won the tournament with that answer. With a great wedge shot third on the par-5 16th, Durr hit it tight then canned the putt for birdie while Lambos could only manage a par.
All three players made bogey at 17. When Lambos hit the tree short left of the green with his hybrid approach shot to the 18th and it bounced away from the green and back into the trees, it sealed the victory for Durr.
FINAL RESULTS: Northern Ohio Golf Association
2019 NOGA Tour Championship
Firestone West Course, Akron | Par 70
Firestone South Course, Akron | Par 70
Sun/Mon, September 14-15, 2019
1 Sean McGuire, Gleneagles Golf Club 67 – 73 = 140 $300.00
2 Brian Smith, Oberlin Golf Club 70 – 77 = 147 $200.00
3 Ryan Dorff, Avon Oaks Country Club 72 – 77 = 149 $150.00
T4 Ben Hogan, Oberlin Golf Club 75 – 75 = 150 $75.00
T4 Ian Hardesty, Quail Hollow Country Club 74 – 76 = 150 $75.00
6 Chris Okeson, Stonewater Golf Club 71 – 81 = 152 $50.00
7 Kurt Peterson, Shady Hollow Country Club 75 – 80 = 155 $50.00
8 Rick Areddy, Silver Lake Country Club 81 – 76 = 157 $50.00
9 Jeff Meagrow, Canterbury Golf Club 79 – 80 = 159 $50.00
10 Wes Stafford, Little Mountain Country Club 76 – 84 = 160 $50.00
1 Jim Durr, Silver Lake Country Club 68 – 76 = 144 $300.00
T2 David Stover, The Country Club 69 – 77 = 146 $175.00
T2 Nick Lambos, Brookside Country Club 73 – 73 = 146 $175.00
4 Tom Baugh, Portage Country Club 77 – 75 = 152 $100.00
5 Mark Borlin, Fox Den Golf Course 76 – 77 = 153 $50.00
T6 John Toth, Fox Den Golf Course 77 – 78 = 155 $50.00
T6 Richard Marlowe, The Lake Club 73 – 82 = 155 $50.00
8 Ray McNiece, Manakiki Golf Course 77 – 82 = 159 $50.00
9 Jerry Haywood, Signature of Solon 79 – 88 = 167 $50.00
10 Tom Herschel, Signature of Solon 87 – 96 = 183 $50.00