Chris Okeson of Lyndhurst has earned his second-consecutive Northern Ohio Golf Association Player of the Year award after a spectacular 2019 NOGA/USGA tournament season.
Jim Durr of Silver Lake lapped the field for the NOGA Senior Player of the Year title, an honor he also captured after the 2017 season.
The Northern Ohio Golf Association awards and compiles points from NOGA, USGA and other big state and national tournaments to determine the Player of the Year races in both championship and senior divisions.
But this year, the races weren’t really races — they were coronations.
Okeson, playing out of Stonewater Golf Club, won this year’s POY title by a tidy 185 points. He beat out Kent Monas of Akron, who earned the bulk of his POY points as the medalist at the U.S. Mid-Am Qualifier at Avon Oaks, then by making match play at the Championship proper.
Rounding out the NOGA top-5 POY list, multiple-time Player of the Year winner Brian Smith of Amherst finished in third place, followed by Tommy Miano of Silver Lake GC then Ben Hogan of Oberlin GC.
Okeson found himself in a playoff at three different USGA Qualifying Tournaments in 2019. The first two were for alternate spots, at the U.S. Am Qualifier and then at the U.S. Mid-Am. The third playoff was the charm, and it was for the real deal: Okeson and partner Steve Putinski won the playoff for the first spot at the U.S. Four-Ball qualifier at Sand Ridge.
Okeson was also the Mid-Am champ at this year’s Northeast Ohio Amateur at Windmill Lakes, and finished either first or T1 in five different NOGA tournaments across the season.
NOGA Senior POY
The points race for the 2019 Senior POY title was an absolute blowout: Durr won by a whopping 465 points over Mike Cassell of Hudson.
Tom Jereb of Quail Hollow finished in third position, Tom Laubacher of Walden in fourth, and fifth place was tied by Monty Guest of Solon and Tom Baugh of Portage.
Durr was the Senior Champion at the 2019 Northeast Ohio Am, won the Senior Division of the NOGA Tour Championship, and took the NOGA Senior Match Play title, too.
Durr also earned medalist honors at Shawnee Country Club in Lima last week, as NOGA won the Ohio Intrastate Tournament against the state’s other golf associations.
And for good measure, Durr won the Silver Lake club championship this year, too.
Season Highlights by Player
Member Club: Stonewater Golf Club
Medalist – U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Qualifier (65, with Steve Putinski)
T3 (First Alternate) – U.S. Amateur Qualifier (141)
T3 (lost in Alternate playoff) – U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier (71)
Mid-Amateur Champion – 89th Northeast Ohio Amateur Championship (217)
T1 – Spring Four-Ball (68)
1st – Stroke Play West (68)
T1 – 55/25 Four-Ball (65)
1st – Stroke Play East (72)
T1 – Fall Four-Ball (65)
T3 – Two-Person Scramble (67)
T3 – AA Four-Ball Championship; Lost in the Four-Ball Match Play Quarterfinals
6th – NOGA Tour Championship (152)
11th – Tournament of Champions (77)
Semifinalist – Season-Long Individual Match Play
Champions – Ohio Intrastate Tournament (76)
Member Club: Silver Lake Country Club
Medalist – U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier (72)
Senior Champion – 89th Northeast Ohio Amateur Championship (215)
Senior Champion – NOGA Tour Championship
Senior Champion – Season-Long Individual Match Play
1st – Stroke Play East (73)
T2 – Two-Person Scramble (68)
3rd – Interclub Team Championship
T3 – Stroke Play West (74)
T7 – 55/25 Four-Ball (70)
T9 – Tournament of Champions (76)
Champions/Medalist- Ohio Intrastate Tournament (70)
Champion – Silver Lake Country Club Championship
Congratulations to Chris Okeson and Jim Durr!