NEO Am presented by Great Lakes Auto NetworkWinning any 54-hole tournament by six shots is a strong accomplishment. But in a prestigious amateur championship being played for the 90th time, that accomplishment is even greater, given all the young talent in the field.

For a player to win by six in a big event like the 2020 Northeast Ohio Amateur Championship, well that requires a serious exhibition of golf.

Cade Breitenstine of Akron, who just finished his freshman season with the Kent State Men’s Golf Team, rose to the level of ‘serious exhibition of golf’ in winning the 90th NEO Am at the challenging Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna on Monday.

After starting with a first-round score of even-par 70 that included a double-bogey at his second hole of the tournament, Breitenstine made just one bogey in Sunday’s second round, shooting 67.

He went bogey-free in his final round, shooting 66.

As a part of that 66, he holed out his second shot from the fairway on the par-4 11th for eagle-2.

In fact, the only time Breitenstine was really in trouble during Monday’s final round exhibition was at the 18th hole, up by five shots, when his tee shot found the left trees.

Smartly, Breitenstine punched out to the fairway, then wedged on from 60 yards. He then drained the 15-footer for par.

Serious exhibition.

He finished the three rounds at 7-under par for the tournament, earning the right to put his name beside the name of Arnold Palmer on the NEO Am trophy.

Tyler Goecke, 2020 NEO Am Runner-up

Second place finisher Tyler Goecke of Xenia (above), did his absolute best to chase down Breitenstine. The Wright State Raider, who also a just finished his freshman year, made four birdies on the front side at Windmill Lakes to turn in a tidy 31, climbing to within three shots of the lead.

But a bogey by Goecke at the par-4 10th hole, followed by the unexpected hole-out eagle at the 11th by Breitenstine, and the chase was finished.

Goecke finished Monday with bunker bogeys at 17 and 18, pushing him back to a 3-under par 67 for the day and a 1-under par total for the tournament, the only other player besides the champion to finish below par.

MID-AM DIVISION

Chris Okeson 2020 NEO AmFor 53 holes, it looked like defending Mid-Am Division champion Chris Okeson of Lyndhurst was going to repeat as the winner. Starting Monday in a tie for the lead, Okeson went out and shot a 1-under par 34 front nine, then made birdie at the 10th to go three shots ahead.

But Westerville’s Michael Kelley played a solid and consistent final round, making two birdies across a bogey-free scorecard to keep the pressure on Okeson right up to the end. Literally.

Michael Kelley 2020 NEO Am Mid-Am Champ
Westerville’s Michael Kelley watches his putt at the 17th green in Rd3 of the NEO Am.

Okeson made a bogey at the par-3 12th but still had a one-shot lead standing on the 18th tee. Kelley hit his final tee shot on the right side of the fairway, while Okeson hooked his into some pines in the left rough.

Kelley hit his second from the fairway and finished just short of the green, directly in line with the pin.

A gap in the trees above gave Okeson the chance he needed to get his shot onto the green then two-putt his way to victory. Even though the shot was solidly struck and on the right line, Okeson’s wedge caught the peak of the pine and dropped his ball 20 yards in front of him. He was shocked. From an even thicker stand of trees, he was forced to wedge out, wedge on, and ultimately he made an untimely double-bogey.

Kelley bumped his little wedge from the front of the green, nearly holing the chip, then tapped in for a surprising victory.

“It’s a tough way to win, as Chris played great,” Kelley said with modesty. Reminded that he shot 68 in the final round to put him into a tie for 7th place in the Championship Division as well, Kelly smiled and nodded. “Yeah, it was a good day.”

SENIOR DIVISION

Monty Guest 2020 NEO Am Senior Champ
Solon’s Monty Guest kept the streak alive for recent NEO Am Senior Division winners from Silver Lake Country Club.

Monty Guest of Solon stated clearly after his round that he was nervous at the start of his day at Windmill Lakes. He held the overnight lead after a strong Sunday 69, but he couldn’t shake the jitters on the first couple holes even though he held a 7-shot lead.

Bogeys at one and two didn’t help the nerves. Then another bogey at the tight par-4 7th hole followed by a double-bogey at the par-3 eight led to a front side score of 40. Another bogey followed at 10.

But then, that was it. The nerves seemed to disappear for Guest, and from there on he played beautifully.

Guest made a birdie at the par-4 11th and all pars on the final seven holes to the house to shoot a 75 and close out a win at the same 7-shot margin as the day began.

Brian Sparrow and Mark Borlin matched the score of 75 of the Senior champion, finishing together in a tie for second place.

Guest joined fellow Silver Lake Country Club members Mark Guadagni and Jim Durr, as together they have won the last four Senior NEO Am titles.

 
After the event, NOGA CEO Robb Schulze had high praise for Windmill Lakes owner Herb Page, pro Michael Maxwell and the entire staff. The golf course was in fantastic condition, and the needs of all the players and of the NOGA operations staff were of first priority.

Schulze also recognized the players and his own staff during the trophy presentation, as there were many challenges to running this event in light of the recent hurdles and constraints. “To all of the players and spectators who came up and thanked us for hosting this event, it means a lot. We are glad to be here, and your comments are appreciated.”

Cade Breitenstine with the 2020 NEO Am trophy
 

NEO Am presented by Great Lakes Auto NetworkFINAL RESULTS:
Northern Ohio Golf Association
2020 Northeast Ohio Amateur Championship

Windmill Lakes Golf Club, Ravenna, Ohio
Sat, June 6 – Mon, June 8, 2020

CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION

1 Cade Breitenstine, Akron, Ohio 70 – 67 – 66 = 203 $750.00
2 Tyler Goecke, Xenia, OH 71 – 71 – 67 = 209 $500.00
T3 Zach Mandry, Solon, OH 74 – 74 – 66 = 214 $400.00
T3 Josh Gilkison, Springboro, Ohio 75 – 70 – 69 = 214 $400.00
T3 Jack Herceg, Dublin, Ohio 70 – 73 – 71 = 214 $400.00
6 Cole Corder, Beavercreek, Ohio 73 – 70 – 72 = 215 $300.00
T7 Jake Fox, Cincinnati, Ohio 75 – 71 – 70 = 216 $262.50
T7 Michael Kelley, Westerville, Ohio 77 – 71 – 68 = 216 $0.00
T7 Tanner Grzegorczyk, Glenshaw, PA 74 – 71 – 71 = 216 $262.50
T10 Chris Okeson, Lyndhurst, OH 72 – 74 – 71 = 217 $0.00
T10 Jack Crawshaw, Winnetka, IL 70 – 75 – 72 = 217 $200.00
T10 Austin Schoonmaker, Maineville, OH 74 – 71 – 72 = 217 $200.00
T10 Nate Arnold, Milford, Ohio 73 – 71 – 73 = 217 $200.00
14 Max Watson, Ashland, OH 69 – 74 – 75 = 218 $150.00
T15 Cade Kreps, Boardman, OH 72 – 76 – 71 = 219 $112.50
T15 Jules Blakely, Westlake, OH 70 – 78 – 71 = 219 $112.50
17 Ethan Snyder, Dublin, OH 81 – 71 – 68 = 220 $75.00
18 Camden Solomon, Dublin, OH 70 – 75 – 76 = 221 $50.00
19 Brad Steven, Concord, OH 72 – 74 – 76 = 222
T20 Dylan Fitchet, Conneaut, Ohio 76 – 77 – 70 = 223
T20 Ken Keller, Youngstown, Ohio 73 – 76 – 74 = 223
22 Brett Kaufman, Westlake, Oh 73 – 77 – 74 = 224
23 Jake Caldwell, Solon, OHIO 72 – 72 – 81 = 225
T24 Grant Engle, Springfield, Ohio 77 – 76 – 73 = 226
T24 Bryan Kordupel, Youngstown, OH 75 – 77 – 74 = 226
T24 Mikkel Mathiesen, Beavercreek, Ohio 73 – 77 – 76 = 226
T27 Doug Barber, Willoughby, Ohio 79 – 75 – 73 = 227
T27 Jared Wilson, Columbiana, Ohio 82 – 72 – 73 = 227
T27 Brian Smith, Amherst, OH 76 – 77 – 74 = 227
T27 Blake Solomon, Dublin, Ohio 74 – 79 – 74 = 227
T27 Jack Garswood, Fairview Park, OH 72 – 78 – 77 = 227
T32 Brian Polick, Wadsworth, Ohio 77 – 77 – 74 = 228
T32 Brandon Bodis, Avon Lake, Ohio 77 – 74 – 77 = 228
T32 Cole Christman, Canfield, OH 75 – 76 – 77 = 228
T35 Matt Donahoe, North Olmsted, OH 77 – 73 – 79 = 229
T35 Evan Yakubov, Columbus, OH 76 – 73 – 80 = 229
T37 Brian Terlesky, Youngstown, Ohio 76 – 77 – 77 = 230
T37 Charles Winkler, Oxford, Ohio 78 – 74 – 78 = 230
T37 Dean Austalosh, Campbell, Ohio 74 – 78 – 78 = 230
T37 Matthew McAdoo, Twinsburg, Ohio 72 – 79 – 79 = 230
T41 Cameron Willis, Eaton, OH 76 – 78 – 77 = 231
T41 PJ Malik, South Russell, Ohio 78 – 74 – 79 = 231
T43 Bud Radis, Aurora, OH 74 – 78 – 81 = 233
T43 Brandon Netzel, North Ridgeville, OH 82 – 70 – 81 = 233
45 Tim Skufca, Westlake, OH 74 – 76 – 84 = 234
46 Conor Mead, Amherst, OH 75 – 79 – 84 = 238
WD Beau Bayerl, Ashland, Ohio 73 – 79 – = WD

CUT Eric Wonkovich, Lakewood, OH 78 – 77 = 155
CUT Jack Kozlowski, Columbus, Ohio 74 – 81 = 155
CUT Robert Schustrich, Windham, Ohio 81 – 74 = 155
CUT Caleb Westfall, Mechanicsburg, OH – Ohio 80 – 76 = 156
CUT Tyler Ankrom, Akron, OH 78 – 78 = 156
CUT Evan Ferrara, Kent, OH 81 – 76 = 157
CUT Bryn Irvine, Bay Village, OH 81 – 77 = 158
CUT Jonathan Filler, Fort Wayne, Indiana 77 – 81 = 158
CUT Miles Miller, Dublin, OH 79 – 79 = 158
CUT Jeff Blechschmidt, Cleveland, OH 80 – 79 = 159
CUT Jack Wertz, Cincinnati, OH 81 – 79 = 160
CUT Kyle Buzaki, Stow, Ohio 79 – 81 = 160
CUT Bobby Jonda, Boardman, Ohio 84 – 79 = 163
CUT Travis Eick, Medina, OH 82 – 81 = 163
CUT Anthony Briggs, Lakewood, OH 81 – 83 = 164
CUT Hunter Brown, Chillicothe, Ohio 82 – 82 = 164
CUT Kevin Rowe, Westlake, OH 81 – 83 = 164
CUT Ross Nicol, Lakewood, Ohio 86 – 80 = 166
CUT Andrew Zgrabik, Brecksville, OH 88 – 79 = 167
CUT Ryan Cseplo, Painesville, Ohio 85 – 82 = 167
CUT Bradley Wise, Hudson, Ohio 84 – 87 = 171

MID-AMATEUR DIVISION

1 Michael Kelley, Westerville, Ohio 77 – 71 – 68 = 216 $400.00
2 Chris Okeson, Lyndhurst, OH 72 – 74 – 71 = 217 $300.00
3 Brad Steven, Concord, OH 72 – 74 – 76 = 222 $250.00
4 Brett Kaufman, Westlake, Oh 73 – 77 – 74 = 224 $200.00
T5 Doug Barber, Willoughby, Ohio 79 – 75 – 73 = 227 $75.00
T5 Brian Smith, Amherst, OH 76 – 77 – 74 = 227 $75.00
7 Brian Polick, Wadsworth, Ohio 77 – 77 – 74 = 228
8 Matt Donahoe, North Olmsted, OH 77 – 73 – 79 = 229
9 Bud Radis, Aurora, OH 74 – 78 – 81 = 233
10 Tim Skufca, Westlake, OH 74 – 76 – 84 = 234
DQ Jack Garswood, Fairview Park, OH 72 – 78 – DQ

CUT Robert Schustrich, Windham, Ohio 81 – 74 = 155
CUT Bryn Irvine, Bay Village, OH 81 – 77 = 158
CUT Jeff Blechschmidt, Cleveland, OH 80 – 79 = 159
CUT Travis Eick, Medina, OH 82 – 81 = 163
CUT Anthony Briggs, Lakewood, OH 81 – 83 = 164
CUT Kevin Rowe, Westlake, OH 81 – 83 = 164
CUT Ross Nicol, Lakewood, Ohio 86 – 80 = 166
CUT Andrew Zgrabik, Brecksville, OH 88 – 79 = 167
CUT Ryan Cseplo, Painesville, Ohio 85 – 82 = 167
CUT Bradley Wise, Hudson, Ohio 84 – 87 = 171

SENIOR DIVISION

1 Monty Guest, Solon, OH 71 – 69 – 75 = 215 $400.00
T2 Brian Sparrow, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 70 – 77 – 75 = 222 $275.00
T2 Mark Borlin, Stow, OH 77 – 70 – 75 = 222 $275.00
4 Tom Jereb, Concord Township, Ohio 75 – 76 – 72 = 223 $200.00
5 Mark Guadagni, Hudson, Ohio 75 – 73 – 76 = 224 $150.00
T6 Marc Fried, Solon, OH 72 – 80 – 75 = 227
T6 Tom Laubacher, Aurora, OH 76 – 78 – 73 = 227
8 Jeffrey Knox, Brecksville, OH 76 – 74 – 79 = 229
9 Marc Blaushild, Moreland Hills, OH 80 – 77 – 81 = 238
10 Bernie Beaudoin, Highland Heights, OH 80 – 77 – 87 = 244

CUT David Stover, Pepper Pike, OH 77 – 81 = 158
CUT Jack Pico, Niles, OH 83 – 76 = 159
CUT Jim Durr, Silver Lake, Ohio 81 – 78 = 159
CUT Tom Baugh, Akron, OH 78 – 81 = 159
CUT Matt Timmons, Shaker Heights, Ohio 83 – 78 = 161
CUT Jerry Haywood, Hudson, OH 82 – 82 = 164
CUT Joe Denk, Fairview Park, OH 87 – 78 = 165
CUT John Toth, Akron, OH 79 – 87 = 166
CUT Ron Hulett, Brecksville, OH 87 – 86 = 173
DQ Lou Boarman, Mogadore, OH 76 – DQ

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