WOULD TURN A GREAT EIGHT INTO A FINE NINE
He hasn’t played much golf lately, so Stephen Gangluff isn’t quite sure what to expect when he tees it up in the 99th playing of the Ohio Open Championship.
If history is any indication it is likely his name will appear near the top of the leaderboard when the event comes to a close.
It has been that way in each of the last two years during the tournament, sponsored by Pyramid Treating and Minutemen.
Gangluff, of Marysville, can become just the ninth three-time winner of what is regarded as the most prestigious event conducted by the Northern Ohio section of the Professional Golfers Association of America if he is able to prevail once again at Weymouth and Fox Meadow country clubs in Medina, June 29-July 1.
While there have been 18 multiple winners of the event only Denny Shute (1929-30-31), Byron Nelson (1940-41-42) and Bob Wynn (1970-71-72) have been able to win three in a row. Shute and Nelson are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Gangluff, 44, won last year’s event with a birdie on the first hole to win a three-man playoff after shooting rounds of 69-64-67 for a 54-hole score of 16-under 200.
Barberton’s Chase Johnson (62-67-71) and Pickerington’s Alex Weiss (70-69-61) were the other medalists but couldn’t match Gangluff’s birdie from about six feet on the first playoff hole, the 18th at Weymouth.
It was an amazing comeback by Gangluff, who played at Ohio State and is a teaching pro at Tartan Fields, as he trailed by six shots with nine holes to play but birdied four of the final seven holes to pull out his second win.
Two years ago he edged Akron’s Nathan Tarter by one shot after nearly wasting a comfortable lead.
“I am looking forward to defending, 100 percent,” said Gangluff. “I haven’t been able to play nearly as much as I normally would because of the COVID, so I really don’t know what to expect.”
Gangluff’s last competitive round was in February in a tournament in Florida.
Gangluff said he prefers Weymouth’s 7,007-yard layout to Fox Meadow’s 6,973 yards.
“I’m an old-school guy and Weymouth is more my style of golf course, but Fox Meadow has treated me well,” said Gangluff, who has played six rounds at the two courses in a combined 29-under.
His best rounds – 8-under 64s – came at Fox Meadow.