PREVIEW: 2022 NOPGA Kenny Novak Junior Championship


Some of the top junior players in Northern Ohio will participate in the 39th Kenny Novak Junior Section Championship at Club Walden in Aurora on Tuesday July 26 – Wednesday, July 27.

Northern Ohio PGA Junior GolfThe event, conducted by the Northern Ohio Section of the Professional Golfers Association of America, attracted approximately 130 players in 2021 and the field is expected to match that figure next week. The 36-hole competition is held in age groups 16-19 and 11-15 for boys and girls.

The reigning champions in the boys divisions – Strongsville’s Michael Lee (16-19) and Aurora’s Chris Pollak (11-15) – are set to defend the championships they won in 2021.

Lee shot rounds of 73-76 for a 5-over 149 over Walden’s 7,202 yard layout to finish in a tie with Massillon’s Jordan Kish. He then won a playoff with a par on the 158-yard second hole. Pollak, a sophomore at Archbishop Hoban, won by a whopping nine shots by finishing at even-par 144 with rounds of 76-68.

Both girls divisions will have new champions as Lima’s Mary Kelly Mulcahy (16-19) and Strongsville’s Natalie Kostalnick (11-15) have not entered.

Winners of each of the Section’s regular-season junior tour events are automatically invited to the Kenny Novak and the field is filled out by the leaders on the season-long Jackson Dieken & Associates Player of the Year points lists. The final points list determines the Section’s players-of-the-year.

The event draws top competition from throughout the region as 35 of the 40 players currently included in the top 10 on the respective points lists have entered. That includes points leaders Sion Park (Westlake) in Boys 16-19, Daniel Gambone (North Canton) in Boys 11-15, Madolyn Kost (Kent) in Girls 16-19 and Gracyn Leigh Vidovic (Aurora) in Girls 11-15.

The Kenny Novak was established in 1984 to honor the memory of Novak, who died while saving the life of a friend from drowning. Novak had been a popular caddie at Walden. The long running championship is honored to continually be welcomed with open arms by the members and staff at the club.

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Tim Rogers

Tim is a Contributing Editor to the Northern Ohio PGA and to Northern Ohio Golf. Award-winning golf writer and sports reporter for the Plain Dealer, retired. Contributor to the Akron Beacon Journal, Canton Repository, AP, and many national publications.

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