Kelley wins the 27th Ohio Senior Hall of Fame Championship
Michael Kelley (Ohio Senior Hall of Fame photo)
Michael Kelley (Ohio Senior Hall of Fame photo)

By Butch Wagner for the Sandusky Register

HURON TWP., OH (August 8, 2018) — Michael Kelley knew he had to play subpar golf if he wanted to win the 2018 Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame championship Tuesday at Plum Brook Country Club.

That is exactly what the 53-year-old from Westerville did in the final round of the 36-hole medal play event for players 50 and over.

Kelley, a first-time entrant, staved off Ken Kinkopf of Dublin for a one-stroke victory with a two-day total of 137, five shots under par. Kelley finished with 68-69 and had seven birdies and two bogeys.

Kinkopf made a strong bid for top honors in his first appearance in the event. He had the low round of the day at 67 to follow up and even-par 71 on Monday when he bogied the last four holes.

Mike McGuire, 50, of Powell, another tournament rookie, finished third overall with a 70-69—139. Rob Schustrich, Windham, placed fourth at 141 and Jerry Inebnit of Ontario wound up in fifth place at even-par 142 on rounds of 69 and 73.

“Overall, I was fortunate to hit the ball well both days and stay out of the trees, which I did for the most part,” said Kelley, who carries a 3 handicap. “I came here because of Craig (Soule), who runs a very good tournament, and I’ll be back next year, that’s for sure.

“Winning never gets old, and to win my first time out here makes it a little special.”

Kelley, a member at New Albany Country Club, was 1 under on both nines Tuesday, with birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 8 and 14.

Kinkopf fired 31-36 for his 67, and that included birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 9 on the front side and 14 and 16 on the back, both par-3 holes.

“I felt I had to birdie the 18th to have a chance, but it wasn’t to be,” Kinkopf said. “My putting was solid today, but that finish (Monday) proved to be costly. My drives were crooked coming in and I hit my drive out of bounds on 18.

“I like this course with its small greens and trees all around it. In addition, I played with a great group of guys. This is a very good tournament in which you must play well to be among the leaders, and I did that today and also for the first 14 holes Monday,” said the Kinsale Golf Club member.

Schustrich came at 69 after a first-round 72 and collected five birdies (Nos. 1, 5, 6, 15 and 18).

“I had two double bogeys (Monday) that hurt,” he said. “I hit my second shot out of bounds on 13, then hit a ball into the creek on 17. I was able to get up and down from anywhere today. That was really the key to my round.”

Two area golfers were in contention after firing 70s Monday.

Willard’s Roger Tolley followed his 1-under round with a 73 for a two-day 143 and earned the top award in his age group (55-59). Norwalk’s Rod Bordman bounced back from a 76 Monday for an even-par 71. His 147 was was good enough to win the low gross division for players 50-54.

TJ Brudzinski, Columbus, the 2017 winner and three-time king, followed his 73 with a 74 for 147; 2016 champion Tim Ford, Lewis Center, tallied 73-73—146; 2005 champion Jeff Sparks of Cincinnati carded 75-78—153; and Soule, the 2009 winner from Port Clinton, came in at 76-79—155.

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ABOUT THE Ohio Senior Hall of Fame

The 54-hole championship is open to any player 50 or older with an established handicap. Lucrative pro shop certificates are awarded to both gross and net winners and placers in five different age categories which makes the tournament very fair for everyone involved. Those age groups are 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70-up. Players over 70 have the option of playing in a special Super Senior class.

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