After the first round at Seven Hills Country Club in Hartville, Canton’s Dave Oates looked like he would be impossible to catch.
On a course setup that was ‘one pace from the back’ on every tee box, trees that crowd the fairways from every direction, and tough-to-find hole locations, a first round score of 2-under par 70 on a firm and fast track with windy conditions and club-grabbing rough was a field-lapper. A ‘wow’ when seeing it on the scoreboard.
Starting Sunday at Rosemont with a three shot lead, Oates did nothing through the first 14 holes to make anyone think that he wasn’t on his way to a big-and-easy victory, tossing in an eagle-bomb at the par-5 ninth and making pars and birdies along the way.
Oates had amassed a six shot lead with just four holes to play. The coronation walk was on.
But the ADGA makes even six-shot leaders finish all 36 holes, and what happened on the last four was a complete shocker.
Canton resident and Coker College senior-to-be Josh Clay birdied the short par-4 15th, getting two strokes back right there as Oates bogeyed.
Then Clay made eagle on the twisting par-5 16th with a driver/5-iron. Oates bogeyed once again, and Clay picked up three more shots just like that.
The lead was down to one.
Both players bogeyed the tough par-3 17th, so as they headed to the par-5 18th, Oates was still up by a shot.
Oates found the right trees, then the left fairway bunker in two.
Clay piped a tee shot then hit a solid second shot pin-high left.
Oates hit a skinny fairway bunker shot over the green then whacked at the hard-pack in the bunker with his wedge, visibly upset. But he went about his business and solidly chipped back from a tough downhill lie to 10 feet for par.
Clay ran his eagle attempt to 4 feet right of the hole.
But then Oates missed the 10-foot par putt, and Clay had a chance to win it outright.
Clay took his time and holed the birdie putt: a two shot swing, a one-stroke victory. Stunned silence from all until Oates extended his hand, looked Clay in the eye and said sincerely, “Great comeback, Josh.”
The four-bogey finish from Oates was completely unexpected. The class and sportsmanship was not; it’s what we see from him all the time.
On the Senior Division side, an equally shocking finish, but this bit of “Are you kidding me?” came in a playoff between Aurora’s Larry Lahnan and Tallmadge resident Jim Cea.
The pair finished in a tie at 149, and both players headed to the 18th for a playoff.
Cea botched the par-five hole from tee to green, whacking it in the rough, then into a bunker, then long over the green, and finally running his fourth shot from the hillside behind back across the green to the front right rough.
While all that was happening, Lahnan had methodically hit the fairway, his layup shot, and then an iron into the green, and had about a 15-footer for birdie.
The playoff looked to be over as Cea stood over his par chip. Only he ran it in the hole!
A miss of the birdie try by Lahnan and the twosome was off to the first hole to continue the playoff.
You guessed it: Cea regained his composure, both players hit the green in two, and after Lahnan missed his birdie effort from about 25 feet, Cea rolled home a 15-foot birdie putt to win.
A fitting ending to two stories of unlikely victory.
FINAL RESULTS: Akron District Golf Association
2013 Lanning’s Stroke Play Tournament
Seven Hills Country Club, Hartville, Saturday, June 22
Rosemont Country Club, Fairlawn, Sunday, June 23
|Pos||Player Name||Rd 1||Rd 2||Total||Prize|
|T7||Padgett III, Don||80||75||155||$130.00|
ROUND 2 ROSEMONT SKINS, CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION:
Don Padgett III #3 (3) Birdie $95.00
Pat Osborn #6 (3) Birdie $95.00
Dave Oates #9 (3) Eagle $95.00
Rob Loomis #11 (3) Birdie $95.00
Shaun Kloetzer #13 (3) Birdie $95.00
Aaron Crewse #17 (2) Birdie $95.00
|Rank||Player Name||Rd 1||Rd 2||Total|
|Spino Jr., Sam||76||77||153||$260.00|
|T8||Thomas, Mark||79||78||157||$ 2,255.00|
ROUND 2 ROSEMONT SKINS, SENIOR DIVISION:
Baugh, Tommy #6 (3) Birdie $90.00
Miller, Fred #8 (2) Birdie $90.00
Spino Jr., Sam #9 (3) Eagle $90.00
Spino Jr., Sam #13 (3) Birdie $90.00
Marsinek, Ed #15 (3) Birdie $90.00