Amateurs posted nice showings this year, but defending champ Bob Sowards once again held them off at the 35th annual Ohio Senior Open.
The former PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour member led the 36-hole tournament played at Firestone Country Club wire-to-wire, posting two rounds of 2-under 68 to win by four.
And while the numbers on the leaderboard make Sowards' victory look easy, but conditions were anything but.
“It was hard out there all day,” Sowards told the Northern Ohio PGA. “The wind was blowing in all four directions and it kept changing. That made it tough when it came to picking clubs. I thought I played well on the front. I just didn’t hit it close enough to have many birdie chances. But that changed on the back.”
One of our AmateurGolf.com members who played with him -- Tony Hejna of Cleveland, took note.
"Bob won the event in the last nine holes, said Hejna, a young senior at 52. "He Just kept everything in front of him, hit solid shots in the wind, and made a couple of putts. The 32 he shot coming in was very strong.”
Along with Sowards' high level of skill in all aspects of the game, there's just something intangible about PGA Tour experience.
“Bob’s resume speaks for itself,” continued Hejna. “It’s great to play with guys who have competed at that level and continue to do so.
Hejna - who finished T3 at the 2019 New York State Am and qualified for the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Mid-Ams -- was a part of a group of amateurs that gave it a run but could not quite get over the hump. Finishing the tournament at one-over, Hejna was bested by Seville, Ohio’s Howard Clendenin who shot an even-par 140 to take solo second and finish the tournament as the low amateur.
Firestone West put up a solid fight in the breezy conditions as it allowed just 10 sub-70 rounds in a field of over 100 golfers.
“Firestone is a great place,” Hejna said. “I have been fortunate enough to play all three courses here over the past few years. The West course is probably the most forgiving which was perfect for an event like this but the windy conditions required you to golf the ball well.”
View results for Ohio Senior Open
ABOUT THE Ohio Senior Open
36 hole stroke play championship for professionals
and amateurs. Open to players aged 50 and over with a
max handicap index of 8.0. Super Senior division for
players aged 60 and over. Member address in Ohio.
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