Brad Steven of Concord played a truly solid round of tournament golf in extremely challenging conditions on Sunday to win his third Greater Cleveland Amateur Golf Championship title.
But Steven’s win wasn’t without some big drama, provided primarily by a hot-putting Doug Barber who shot lights-out early.
At a firm, fast and windy Manakiki, Barber played the front nine in a scorching 3-under par 33. Adding birdies at the reachable par-5 12th and 13th holes put him into the lead at 5-under par for the day and 4-under par for the tournament, an astounding score for the day given the conditions.
A bogey at the 14th put Barber back to 3-under for the tournament but still in the lead.
Then an aggressive tee shot by Barber on the downhill 204-yard par-3 15th hole looked great as it covered the flag — but flew about 5 yards too deep, took a big bounce over the back and led to a devastating double-bogey.
Barber recovered and parred the final three holes from there — making par-saving putts from sizable distances on each hole — to post 1-under par for the tournament as leader in the clubhouse.
But Steven played some outstanding golf of his own. A great up-and-down par save from 130-yards out after chipping sideways from the right trees on the tough par-4 8th hole kept the momentum going on his front nine, allowing Steven to turn at even par on the day and 1-under for the tournament.
Birdies through the back-nine par fives pushed him to 3-under for the event, but a bogey on the 14th put him back to two-under total.
A clutch tee shot on the trouble-laden par-3 15th to 25-feet made for a great par, especially after watching Barber make double bogey in front of him. The par allowed Steven to keep his one shot lead.
Two near-misses for birdie by Steven at the 16th and 17th left the one-shot difference between the pair intact going to the tough 18th. Steven laid back off the tee to the 150 yard marker, then rifled his second shot right by the hole, just 10 feet past. From there, Steven rolled his putt down the hill and into the hole for a finishing birdie, giving him a 3-under par total for the tournament and a two shot victory over Barber.
Steven’s third career Cleveland Am victory ties him with Norton Brick of Elyria for the most in championship history. [Complete history of the Cleveland Am here.]
First and second round leader Dave Sotka of Chardon performed well in the tough conditions all week, shooting a Sunday round of 2-over par 74 to finish at level par for the tournament and a solo third place finish.
Zack Glassman finished in fourth place another shot back after a final round 71, and John Furlong grabbed fifth place, also closing with a 71 and 2-over for the 54 holes.
Special thanks to host pro Tom Kochensparger, and to Metroparks pros Mike Raby, John Fiander and Jeff Staker for the well-run championship. And kudos to superintendent Bill Roeder and all of the golf course maintenance staff for the great greens and course conditions during tournament week!
FINAL RESULTS: 2010 Greater Cleveland Amateur Golf Championship
Manakiki Golf Course
Willoughby Hills, Ohio
Par 72, 6,741 yards
Sunday, August 8, 2010
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