PEPPER PIKE, Ohio (June 24, 2014) -- Golf is a game of highs and lows. That old adage certainly held true as the penultimate hole of the 84th Northeast Ohio Amateur provided a high for the eventual champion and lows for the tournament leader for the first three rounds.
Andrew Bailey, a Rocky River native, fired a 3-under 69 in the final round at The Country Club for a four-stroke victory. A three-time Horizon League player of the year and recent Cleveland State graduate, Bailey posted rounds of 71-66-74-69 for a 72-hole total of 7-under 287 to beat his former teammate an close friend Michael Balcar who led the tournament for the first 70 holes before a surprising change of events on the 17th hole in the final round.
After Bailey birdied the par-5 16th hole to pull within two shots, both players drove the ball in the fairway on the 387-yard, par-4 17th hole. While Bailey made birdie, Balcar struggled after hitting his approach shot into the greenside bunker. After leaving his first shot in the bunker and blading his next shot into high grass beside the green, Balcar eventually made a quadruple-bogey eight and the five-shot swing gave Bailey a three-stroke lead heading to the final hole.
Both players played tremendous golf over the three-day championship and distanced themselves from the rest of the field. Dennis Holub of Youngstown State finished third at 296 while three-time NOGA Player of the Year Brian Smith of Oberlin tied for fourth with former Cleveland State assistant coach Doug Barber and Charlly Pak. Defending champion Joe Tornabene finished a tie for eighth.
Jim Durr of Silver Lake Country Club had to hold on over the final nine holes to win his first NEOA Senior title. Durr built a six-shot lead over the first two rounds of the championship and needed all of that lead after a final-round 79 to finish at 5-over 220. He shot 1-over on his last 11 holes and held on for a one-stroke victory over C.C. of Hudson’s Mike Cassell and Signature of Solon’s Marc Fried, who finished runner-up for the third straight year. Cassell, last year's NOGA Senior Player of the Year, posted a final-round 74 and Fried shot 1-over 73.
Special thanks to Silver Lake Country Club, Madison Golf & Country Club and The Country Club for hosting this year’s championship. All three courses were outstanding hosts, especially The Country Club which hosted the 36-hole finals and was in near-perfect condition.
View results for Northeast Ohio Amateur Invitational Golf Tournament