The ninth edition of the Matt Mishler Junior Portage County Amateur is in the record books and is one to remember for the youths competing in the two-day event.
In tight races that saw leads change hands throughout the competition, champions were awarded in five age division.The two-day event started at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna on Monday and concluded on Tuesday at Oak Knolls Golf Club in Kent.
BOYS 16 TO 19
Chris Sloe (pictured) had captured the oldest boys age division in 2014 and demonstrated his ability to remain at the top of the leaderboard in the final 18 holes of 36.
Sloe fired a 78 the first day of the competition that kept him in first place despite a run at the title from Derek Miller of Garfield who also tied Sloe at Oak Knolls with identical 80s.
Sloe of Aurora will be a sophomore at John Carroll University this Fall and has been playing in numerous events throughout the summer.
With his parents watching, Sloe captured the Jr. Amateur Championship again by five strokes over Miller who burst into the top three from his fourth place position the first day.
Miller will again compete for the Garfield G-Men this fall.
Rounding out the top three was Kyle McCafferty of Westlake, a recent graduate of St. Ignatius High School, was only one stroke behind Miller, firing back-to-back scores of 82 for a 164.
GIRLS 16 TO 19
Chloe Wise of Kent, a member of the Kent Roosevelt Lady Rough Riders, held onto the championship in both rounds with never a doubt that she would defend her title from 2015.
Wise beat the competition by 11 strokes, topping Hannah Finley of Kent, a member of the Hoban Knights varsity girls golf team.
Rounding out the top three was Columbiana’s Taylor Ross who had won the girls 13 to 15 age division in 2015
Ross missed second place by two strokes.
Bryan Harvey, coach of the Kent Roosevelt varsity girls team, on the course watching the numerous girls from Kent Schools and Kent Roosevelt, mentioned to Wise that she would need to return to make it three-in-a-row next season.
BOYS 13 TO 15
The top three boys didn’t change but their position in the standings did.
Laszlo Horvath, a member of the Rootstown varsity boys team, was two strokes off the pace set by Joey Vitali of Warren after Monday’s first round action. Horvath had fired an 83 to Vitali’s 81 with Daren Hudak of Tallmadge lurking in the wings with an 84.
On Tuesday, everything changed while the trio played together at Oak Knolls Golf Club.
Horvath demonstrated he was not going to be an easy target to beat as he fired a 44 on the front nine to Vitali’s 48.
While Vitali struggled on the first nine, he seemed to have that golfaer-syndrome “good nine-bad nine as he settled down on the back nine to score a 40.
Horvath, meanwhile, had found his rhythm, shooting a nice 36 on the back nine to score a decisive win over both Hudak and Vitali. Horvath’s two-day total, a 163, was a full six-strokes ahead of Vitali and Hudak.
Vitali, champion of the boys 13 to 15 in 2014, and Hudak, winner of the 12 and under division in 2015, tied in final two-day total with a scorecard playoff determining Hudak won second pushing Vitali to third.
GIRLS 13 TO 15
Grace Thompson (above), also on the girls varsity golf team for the Lady Rough Riders of Kent Roosevelt, was ahead of Haley Brenner at the end of the first day. But Thompson handled the fairways of Oak Knolls, earning an 11 stroke victory over Brenner of Kent in second place and Brooke Harvey of Kent in third.
Consistent throughout her round Thompson fired an 84, the low round over the two days of her division, that included an eagle on the 13th hole.
Brenner’s 93 and Harvey’s 95 rounded out the top three golfers in the division.
The girls, teammates for Kent Roosevelt, demonstrated the best about tournament action, wanting everyone to play well and encouraging the best golf in your competition.
GIRLS 12 AND UNDER
Sydnie Leavery of Streetsboro is having one of those weeks that every golfer dreams of.
Leading wire-to-wire in the Junior Amateur, Leavery also recently qualified for the next round of the Drive, Chip and Putt held by the Northern Ohio PGA.
Leavery scored nine hole rounds of 52-45 wo win with a score of 97 over top three Sarah Lenzo and Morgan Bauza, both of Kent.
Leavery birdied the final hole as everyone near the clubhouse watched her score the four on the par 5 while Bauza birdied the Par 4 eight hole with a three.
*Bryan Harvey of the girls varsity golf team at Kent Roosevelt was invaluable throughout both days of the Junior Amateur. On the course to handle rulings while watching the girls that play for the successful Rough Rider varsity girls golf team, Harvey was the impetus behind the inception of the Kids Amateur for both boys and girls, a great start for young golfers to learn tournament play.
*Craig Blike, junior tournament director of the Northern Ohio PGA, only has several tournaments of his own to run including the NOPGA Kenny Novak Championship but Blike was on call through both days of the Portage County Jr. Amateur to make rulings including specific tie breakers as well as what to do if the golf ball falls in the hole of a burrowing animal.
*Cindy Fesemyer, coach of the Southeast Lady Pirates, grabbed golf team alumnus Macie Hysell and current golf team member Macy McClure to help with the 12 year old boys Kids Amateur. The threesome volunteered to help make sure scores were accurate, teach rules and make sure the kids remained hydrated in the hot temperatures that greeted the Jr. Am both Monday and Tuesday.
*Jimmy Hinton of Canton, a solid player in the Junior Amateur the past several years, came into the clubhouse to disqualify himself. Hinton, on his way to a competitive score, hit the wrong ball on the fifth hole but didn’t realize it until he had teed off on the sixth hole. No one would have realized his mistake unless he had disqualified himself. A disappointed Hinton earned the admiration and respect of all the competitors.
*Grace Thompson, first day leader of the girls 13 to 15 age division had a large group of people watching but was surprised and happy to find among the spectators a former teacher from Franklin Elementary. Retired teacher Gretchen Seuss came to watch her former student at Windmill Lakes.
*For many junior golfers, this is their first tournament, adding to the fun of the event as they are mixed in with seasoned golfers who have been playing tournament golf all summer.
2016 MATT MISHLER JUNIOR PORTAGE COUNTY AMATEUR
Windmill Lakes Golf Club, Ravenna
Oak Knolls Golf Club, Kent
July 25 – 26, 2016
BOYS 16 TO 19 (36 HOLES)
Chris Sloe, Aurora 78-80 158
Derek Miller, Garrettsville 83-80 163
Kyle McCafferty, Westlake 82-82 164
Mike Avalon, Aurora 82-84 166
Kyle Smith, Kent 82-87 169
Evan Chapple, rootstown 90-88 178
Paul Harris, Ravenna 85-93 178
Ryan Wilson, Rootstown 91-93 184
Jaret Golgosky, Rootstown 87-97 184
Bailey Campbell, Mogadore 94-96 190
Nick fisher, Kent 101-93 194
Blake Frasher, Mogadore 100-100 200
GIRLS 16 TO 19 (36 Holes)
Chloe Wise, Kent 82-84 166
Hannah Finley, Kent 96-81 177
Taylor Ross, Columbiana 92-87 179
Hannah Thomas, Kent 89-96 185
Samantha Tofli, Austintown 100-104 204
BOYS 13 TO 15 (36 Holes)
Laszlo Horvath, Rootstown 83-80 163
Darin Hudak, Tallmadge 84-85 169
Joey Vitali, Warren, 81-88 169
Seth Ross, Columbiana 88-86 174
Charlie Huscroft, Kent 89-88 177
Griffen Wise Ravenna 8897-185
Carter Troyer, Kent 95-90 185
Casey Troyer, Kent 97-97 194
Nathan Ryan, akron 105-92 197
Matt Dile, Kent 105-93 198
Mason Moldvay, Kent 104-98 202
Josh Fisher, Kent 97-106 203
Adam Whitacre, Rootstown 111-95 206
Jackson Holzapfel, Akron 104-105 209
Brennan Schlaubach, Rootstown 104-106 210
Jason Sears, Kent 110-108 218
Ethan Stefli, Kent 131-99 230
GIRLS 13 TO 15 (18 Holes)
Grace Thompson, Kent 89-84 173
Haley Brenner, Kent 91-93 184
Brooke Harvey, Kent 96-95 191
Emma Picicco, Kent 102-100 202
Braydn Harris, Kent 106-103 209
Sydney Golden, Kent 118-108 226
Riley Courtheyn, Kent 124-126 250
GIRLS 12 AND UNDER (9 Holes)
Sydnie Leavery, Kent 52-45 97
Sarah Lenzo, Kent 64-55 119
Morgan Bauza, Kent 64-56 120
reprinted with permission from the Record-Courier