PREVIEW: 2012 Cleveland Amateur Championship

Cleveland Metroparks Golf
Mike Raby
Mike Raby
John Fiander
John Fiander
Tom Kochensparger
Tom Kochensparger
Allen Freeman
Allen Freeman

Cleveland Amateur Golf ChampionshipsWe’ve gathered the brain-trust of the Greater Cleveland Amateur Golf Championship — Cleveland Metroparks golf professionals Mike Raby of Big Met, John Fiander of Sleepy Hollow and Tom Kochensparger of Manakiki — and turned them into “fantasy golf prognosticators” as a preview to this weekend’s big tournament!

See their picks for The Winner, The Darkhorse, The Winning Score, and the Top-5 Finishers — and see how their picks stacks up against the choices made by’s Allen Freeman!

Remember, these picks are only for personal enjoyment and passing conversation, and should not be relied upon for actual wagering…

Mike Raby’s Picks:

The Winner: Brad Steven – he won in 2010

The Darkhorse: David Sotka – finished 2nd in Manakiki course championship and had a top 10 finish at Manakiki in 2010.

GOING OFF-MENU: Mike Raby Bonus Darkhorse Picks:
– Dark-Dark Horse:
Brian VanDeMotter – extremely dark horse as he’s an alternate who’s not even in the tournament yet. Brian shot 74-75=149 at Big Met to miss qualifying by one shot, and then shot 64 the next day at Manakiki in the U.S. Amateur qualifying. Brian needs a late withdrawal to get in;
– Dark Side of the Moon Horse: Derek Duda – maybe he can channel the good vibes from winning the Fall scramble event at Manakiki last year.

The Winning Score: 213 (-3) – three of the last five Cleveland Ams at Manakiki had a winning score of 213: in 2010 (Brad Steven), 2006 (Jacob Scott), and 2002 (Norton Brick).

The Top 5:
1. Brad Steven – 2010 champ
2. Pete Skirpstas – 2011 champ
3. Doug Barber – 2nd in 2010 at Manakiki
4. Nick Palladino – Manakiki course champion
5. Brian Yeo – Big Met course champion


John Fiander’s Picks:

The Winner: Pete Skirpstas – I have to back Pete. He’s won the course championship here at Sleepy the last two years. He had a strong Ohio Open (12th).

The Darkhorse: Matt Heestand – was one shot out of the lead in last year’s championship before the final round was rained out. Shot a second-round 67 in the 2009 championship.

The Winning Score: 211 (-5)

The Top 5:
1. Pete Skipstas – see reasons above
2. Nick Palladino – got to go with the guy who won at Manakiki a few weeks ago
3. Dan Metzendorf – long off the tee, played well in the qualifier and at Summit County
4. Scott Heran – can still hang with the young guys
5. Kory Oslie – played well at the Mankiki course championship


Tom Kochenspargers’s Picks:

The Winner: Nick Palladino – it’s a young man’s game

The Darkhorse: David Sotka – good history here and he’s consistently competitive

The Winning Score: 211 (-5)

The Top 5:
1. Nick Palladino
2. David Sotka
3. Kory Oslie
4. Billy Barbour
5. Pete Skirpstas


Allen Freeman’s Picks:

The Winner: Nick Palladino – he’s been winning junior events left and right and set the Course Championship scoring record at Manakiki two weeks ago. Most dialed in for the course, plus he’s too young to have a sore back by the middle of the third round and he doesn’t have a job that he has to think about!

The Darkhorse: Dave Sotka – been playing solid all season especially in recent events, and played well last time at Manakiki but came up short. Might push through this time around.

The Winning Score: 212 (-4)

The Top 5:
1. Nick Palladino – see why above
2. Pete Skirpstas – playing solid; it will come down to how many putts he holes
3. Brad Steven – good vibes as defending site champ
4. Dave Sotka – even if he doesn’t claim the win, he’ll still be top-5
5. Norton Brick – he’s really f***ing old, but can catch fire at any time so watch out

Have a different prediction? Add your picks into the Comments box below! Then watch Northeast Ohio Golf for complete results, photos, videos and more after each day’s play from Manakiki…


  1. Avatar
    August 8, 2012

    Michael T Klaric III and Jon Riemer will distance themselves from the field. CSU alums love manakiki…naturally

  2. Avatar
    August 8, 2012

    I’ll take the field vs. the players mentioned in the article.

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