The only thing better than the weather Sunday afternoon was the play in the final round of the 2021 Zoar Memorial. It is always entertaining golf when the seasoned players and the talented upstarts tee it up in competitive championships.
That was the case at Zoar Golf Club’s annual amateur tournament. Chris Okeson is well known for frequenting the winner’s circle in Northern Ohio golf. He had played a superb 5-under par opening round on Saturday in the cold, windy and misty conditions. On Sunday, Lyndhurst resident Okeson posted a 1-under par 71, only to be tied by Malone sophomore-to-be Dylan Kaufman. Kaufman, of Benton, posted the clubhouse lead with a 6-under par 66, playing two groups in front of Okeson. Kaufman had gone out in 35 strokes and had a scorching back nine of 31.
The playoff lasted only one hole as Kaufman chipped in for birdie to claim the crystal.
Connor Ritter, a junior to be at Sandy Valley High School, was solo third after posting identical rounds of 70. There was a 3-way tie for fourth place: Josh Prok (Portage Lakes), Matt Stuart (Bolivar) and Blake Hartford (Spring, Tx) all finished the 36 holes at 1-under par.
The Senior Division at age 50+ also featured some fine scoring, as Strasburg resident Matt Bitikofer backed up his opening round of 71 with another to claim the title.
Rob Schustrich (Windham) was second at 145 and Brian Beebe (Uniontown) was next with a 146. Bill Jenkins (Canton) and Brad Baker (Danville) tied for fourth place with 148 strokes.
The Zoar Memorial is held each year over the Memorial Day weekend and honors and remembers players of the past. This year Greg Goodrich (Dennison) was honored for his many championships earned during the 70’s and 80’s. His friend and fellow competitor, the late Roy Kennedy was remembered for his accomplishments as well. More on those two gentlemen can be found on zoargolf.com.