First-year competitor Kelley only bogeys two holes in the event. 

Butch Wagner for Sandusky Register

HURON TWP. — Mike 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.

Kelley’s sterling round lifts him to Ohio Senior Am Hall of Fame championship

by Don Hohler of Norwalk Reflector

HURON TWP — Mike Kelley, playing out of posh New Albany Country Club, used a 50-foot putt on the first hole for birdie to kickstart a round of 69.

That round capped a two-day 68-69—137 total that got him the 2018 Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Championship at Plum Brook Country Club on Tuesday afternoon.

“Truly that was a kickstart, because I hit it left off the tee, up against a tree,” Kelley said. “I whacked it out as best I could — and then launched that putt that somehow found the bottom of the hole.”

After that, it was a lot of pars and consistent golf from a player that was making his second trip to the Galloway Rd. course.

“No idea where I stood on the scoreboard,” he said. “Just kept hitting it straight as I could. Made seven birdies over the three days to go with two bogeys.”

And, if the handicaps are correct, he should have won. His handicap was the lowest in the field, a plus 2.8. He needed five more strokes to get it to the clubhouse last year.

Ken Kinkopf, of Dublin, was second at 138 followed by Mike McGuire, from Powell, at 139.

First-year player Robert Schustrich, one of 15 newbies, finished at 141.

“Players like Kelley and Kinkopf might not be that well known here at Plum Brook, but around the Midwest they sure are,” said tournament director Craig Soule. “They are among the elite senior amateur players.”

Willard’s Roger Tolley had a highlight shot on Tuesday, a wedge from 100 yards that found the bottom of the hole on No. 9 for eagle.

“Didn’t do much before or after that,” the 55-year-old said. “Made birdies on 11 and 17 to get to that 73.”

Tolley was just two back after a first-round 1-under par 70 on Monday.

Norwalk’s Rod Bordman improved from his 76 on Monday to a 71 on Tuesday. The 53-year-old financier had his chance to go even lower had he chipped in shots on 1 and 15 that hit the pin and hung on the edge.

“I made birdie on 4 from 10 feet, on 6 from two-feet, and on 14 from 12-feet,” he said. “It was a different golf course from yesterday after that rain last night. They let us lift, clean and place but those chips were from the rough, both times with mud on the ball.

“I have not been at my best this year,” Bordman added. “This is a tough sport at this level.”

Bordman, 53, has one date left, the Ohio Senior Publinx at Hawthorne Valley in Mt. Vernon next month.

Jim Boling put his second 81 on the scoreboard.

“I am pretty sure I made one birdie,” he said. “Yep, it was on 8. Made a putt from 15 feet.

“To be honest, the boat has replaced the golf clubs,” Boling added. “And to be honest, you have to have a club in your hand in your spare time if you are going to compete with this group. I have the time but boat-time is easier.”

Chris Bleile got it down to 74 after a 77 on Monday.

“Very inconsistent,” he said. “I birdied No. 9 from six feet and then got them on 10, 13, 15 and 18 — all from the five-foot range. It goes to prove, it’s not how good your good shots are but how bad are your misses.”

All three cashed under the tournament system where a player has the right to take the highest as far as gift certificates. Bordman won in Group 1 (50-54), in the gross division, Tolley won in Group 2 (55-59) in the gross division, while Bleile won in Group 1, first in net category.

Other winners from the area included Bill Monaghan as the Super Senior winner after closing with a 77 on Tuesday. He topped another PBCC member, Don Gustovich by six strokes. Bellevue’s Brian Schubert, the school’s athletic director, won low net at 142 in Group 1. Tom Bollenbacher did the same in the 60-64 age group. Randy Rankin, of Bellevue, did the same (143 net) in the 55-59 group.

Milan’s Harry Perdue also had a great tournament, winning the net overall runner-up title. He backed his great 1-over par 72 on Monday with a 75 Tuesday. That gave him a net 135, three strokes behind Neal Gearhart.

TOURNAMENT NOTES: Three-time champion TJ Brudzinski, from Columbus, got off to tough starts both days. Monday was especially rocky. He took an eight on the third hole when he hit the wrong ball, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. He was five-over after the first three holes. … First-year player Kinkhopf was cruising along Monday at four-under standing on 15 tee. Then Plum Brook put his teeth into him. He finished with four bogeys. … Tournament champion Kelley was one of five players on the first page of the leaderboard with plus handicaps.

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