On its best day, playing any twisting, turning Donald Ross golf course in individual stroke play tournament can be an incredible test of patience.
Throw in some juicy rough, a 30 minute rain delay, a couple of hole locations that seemed set for an upcoming 5-man scramble, and bunkers that need work, and playing at Hawthorne Valley Golf Club at Solon on Sunday might have brought Job to his knees.
But using his experience, Fred Miller of Aurora best handled the challenge to earn a three shot victory in the 2018 NEOHgolf.com Hawthorne Valley Stroke Play Tournament.
The fairways, tees and greens at Hawthorne Valley were in fine condition, and a good result would come if a player could work the ball around the tree-lined hole corridors and keep his shots in the short grass. Easier said than done, however, as the wind swirled before and after the rain hit about one-third of the way into the round.
Miller bogeyed his first two holes right out of the gate, but then birdied the tough par-3 fifth hole to right the ship and win a skin. He bogeyed the par-4 eighth hole as well, but that 5 was actually a huge accomplishment: the hole location there was set on the down-slope of a sharp knob in the already-sloping far left corner of the green, and many players took 4 and 5 putts there (some many more).
Miller mostly earned his victory on the back nine, shooting a tidy even-par 35 there to post a score of 2-over par 72.
Finishing in a two-way tie for second place were Rob Schustrich of Windham and Mark Ciccarello of South Euclid, both shooting 75. Ciccarello also nabbed a skin with a birdie on the hilly, winding par-4 second hole to add to his take for the day.
Mark Schneider of Massillon (below) scrambled well all day long, but on the 18th hole he tangled with some trees in the left rough for a double-bogey, which pushed him back into solo fourth place at 76.
A number of new faces played at Hawthorne Valley on Sunday, and two of those new players dipped their fingers into the skins pot on the last two holes of the day: Brett Brunkenhoefer birdied the super-tough 17th hole, while Jack Marinelli (below) made 3 at 18. A nice way to end a first venture.
The next event on the NEOHgolf.com Tournament Series schedule is the newly added Ironwood 2-Man Better Ball at Ironwood Golf Course in Hinckley on Sunday, June 24th.
Northeast Ohio Golf Tournament Series
2018 Hawthorne Valley Stroke Play
Hawthorne Valley Golf Club, Solon
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Fred Miller 37 – 35 = 72 $370.00
Rob Schustrich 39 – 36 = 75 $210.00
Mark Ciccarello 37 – 38 = 75 $210.00
Mark Schneider 37 – 39 = 76 $100.00
George Allen 39 – 38 = 77 $75.00
Jimmy Wild 41 – 37 = 78 $35.00
Bud Radis 40 – 39 = 79
Matt Frey 40 – 39 = 79
Zach Drukenbrod 41 – 38 = 79
Mark Borlin 43 – 37 = 80
Eric Coven 44 – 37 = 81
Eric Wonkovich 40 – 41 = 81
Mitch Levingood 43 – 39 = 82
Larry Lahnan 42 – 40 = 82
Jack Garswood 41 – 41 = 82
Brett Brunkenhoefer 47 – 36 = 83
Ryan Augustitus 43 – 41 = 84
James Weikamp 41 – 43 = 84
Gary Congin 43 – 43 = 86
Doug Fleming 45 – 42 = 87
Ryan Malkus 48 – 42 = 90
Thomas Smith 51 – 48 = 99
Mark Thomas WD
Dan Terry NC
Dax Bramwell NC
Ed Saylor Skins Only
Dave Michelson Skins Only
Jack Marinelli Skins Only
Ryan Hostetler Skins Only
George Roberts DNS
John Schnur DNS
John Lord DNS
SKINS: $90 ea
Mark Ciccarello Birdie 3 Hole #2
Matt Frey Birdie 3 Hole #4
Fred Miller Birdie 2 Hole #5
Eric Wonkovich Birdie 3 Hole #9
Brett Brunkenhoefer Birdie 3 Hole #17
Jack Marinelli Birdie 3 Hole #18