Andrew Bailey (Ohio Golf Association Photo)
As Shaker Heights native and Canterbury Golf Club member Andrew Bailey attempted to close out the 117th Ohio Amateur, the membership at Canterbury and huge crowd following the final group was holding onto every shot.
“It was unbelievable to have that many people out there,” Bailey said. “I fed off the crowd. I think if there was no crowd there today, I don’t know if I would have got it done but it felt like they were willing the ball in the hole.”
Bailey shot a 1 over 73 during round one but bounced back with impressive rounds of 68 and 67 to go 9 under during rounds two and three to take a four-shot lead into the final round of Drew Salyers of Howard, OH., and Scott Anderson of Columbus, OH.
Bailey finished with an even par round of 72 to shoot a total of 8 under par to win by two shots over Salyers, who finished 6 under par.
Nate Yankovich of Columbus, OH., JonErik Alford of Roswell, Ga., Tyler Goecke of Xenia, OH., and Brady Catalano of Columbus, OH., all finished T3 at 1 under.
“Thursday, the course felt getable, so I played more aggressive and today, the course played very hard, so I just tried to play it one shot at a time and not think about everything around me,” Bailey said.
“I didn’t try to keep any different mindset,” Bailey added about starting the round with a four-shot lead. “I just tried to give myself as many chances as possible to make birdies and I didn’t really have my best stuff of the tee or with my irons, but I had a really good short game and putter, and it paid off.”
Even though Bailey started with a 73 and was four shots off the lead, he knew there was a lot of golf left to be played.
“I just stayed patient,” Bailey said. “I felt like I knew where the pins were going to be and how to approach them and just wanted to let the course come to me and not be too aggressive.”
To start the final round, Bailey birdied No. 1 and chipped in for par on No. 2 and got the lead to six shots through the first five holes in the final round. However, Salyers played the next seven holes at 2 under par while Bailey shot 1 over through the next seven holes to make things interesting.
Bailey was able to birdie No. 13 to expand his lead to four shots again, but a birdie from Salyers on No. 14 and a bogey from Bailey on No. 15 cut the Bailey lead to just two shots entering the difficult final three-hole stretch.
On No. 17, Bailey led by two shots and had a 6-foot putt for par. It just barely caught the lip and fell to a thunderous applause and a fist pump from Bailey.
“(No.) 17 was a huge putt,” Bailey said. “I pushed it a bit and it hit the top lip and I was just so relieved to see the ball drop in.”
Bailey hit some solid golf shots coming into the clubhouse and was able to hold off Salyers and win the Ohio Amateur by two shots.
Salyers, who plays his collegiate golf for the University of Indiana, was the only golfer in the field to shoot all four rounds under par.
Bailey and Salyers played all four rounds together.
Bob Fairchild, the Vice President of the Ohio Golf Association and the 1993 Ohio Amateur Champion, has been a member at Canterbury for 52 years and was onsite for all four days of the 2023 tournament.
“It was very emotional for me,” Fairchild said. “I have been a friend of Andrews’ since he joined the club and I knew he had the game to win the Ohio Amateur here and frankly, I watched about 50 of the 72 holes and he just played beautifully.”
Fairchild added “It is tough to win a golf tournament and there is a lot of implied pressure when it Is your home golf course and he handled it beautifully.”
“It’s the 30th anniversary of Bob Fairchild’s win and Bob has been a mentor to me and a very important figure in my life when it comes to Mid-Amateur golf,” Bailey said.
Suffice to say, Bailey and the Canterbury Golf Club will remember this one for a long time.