Some guys like certain golf courses.
Some guys like certain holes on those certain golf courses.
On Monday during the rain-delayed first round of the NOPGA’s Mitchell-Haskell Tour Championship at Brookside Country Club we learned that certain guys like certain events.
At least that’s the way it appeared.
Four players shot 3-under 68 in the Regular Division on a day in which it rained twice, followed by a load a sunshine, followed by threatening skies, and sometime along the way, a massive willow tree just to the left of the 18th fairway toppled over.
Randy Dietz, a PGA Teaching Professional at Windmill Golf Center, won this event in 2019 when it was held at the Country Club.
Jim Troy, a PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Windmill Golf Center, won this event in each of the last two years, also at Country.
Jaysen Hansen, the PGA Head Golf Professional at Beechmont Country Club, is one of four players tied at 69. The 2009 NOPGA Player-of-the-Year, won this event in 2006 and 2014. Again, at Country.
The Senior Division race followed the same pattern.
Tom Atchison, formerly head professional at Salem Country Club and now a PGA of America Life Member, shot the day’s best round, a bogey-free 5-under 66 and has a commanding four-shot lead over Club Walden PGA Head Golf Professional Mitch Camp and 1899 Golf’s Scott Pollack.
Atchison has won this event four times, most recently in 2015. Camp won it in 2003.
Get the picture. Horse for courses? How about contestants for events?
Dietz (33-35) and Troy (35-33) share the Regular Division lead with Portage Country Club PGA Head Golf Professional Adam Lewicki, whose 4-under 32 on the back nine was the best nine of the day, and DJ Holub, a PGA Assistant Golf Professional at the Pepper Pike Club, who birdied the final three holes – including the gargantuan 600-yard 17th and almost as gargantuan 529-yard 18th — was the most consistent player in the field with nines of 34-34.
The start of the tournament was delayed for 90 minutes by a combination of rain and lightning. A brief shower fell later in the day but not enough to halt play. But the early rain turned Brookside’s notorious ultra-fast greens into, well, just fast greens.
“I have never seen these greens like this,” said Dietz, who had four birdies and one bogey on the day, with the lone bogey coming on the lengthy closing hole when his tee shot came to rest on the upslope of a fairway bunker. “They were still quick, but they were not the Brookside we’re accustomed to. Normally, you are putting defensively. Today you could be a little more offensive-minded.”
The greens weren’t their usual treacherous speed but the rough was deeper and thicker than normal. That helped limit the 46-player field to 11 sub-par rounds.
Dietz continued his strong play as of late, making the turn at 2-under and adding back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th.
Lewicki, who birdied two of the first three holes on the front and the first two holes on the back, agreed.
“They were slower than normal but they also putted very true,” he said. “You just had to get the ball on line.”
Lewicki took advantage of the roll of the greens – and a putting lesson from his former boss, Steve Parker — to turn in his best putting round of the season.
“I haven’t putted this we’ll all season,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the ball well but my putting was awful. I was really bad at (the) Toledo (Open)”.
Consequently, he revamped his grip, dropping the claw grip he had used for about 10 years and returning to a more conventional style.
“At Toledo I couldn’t get a 20-footer near the hole,” he said, “Now, I’m making them.”
For instance, he made a 35-footer on the second, a 25-footer in the 14th and a double-breaking 15-footer on the 16th. Each was for birdie.
Troy, who also won in 2018, used a massive drive that cleared the two fairway bunkers, to birdie the 18th. However, it was two earlier shots on consecutive holes that might have defined his round.
He nearly holed out from the fairway on the short (381) par-4 13th and watched as his ball spun back to with six inches of the hole.
On the par-3 14th his tee shot cleared the bunker fronting the green and stopped about two feet from the hole.
The back-to-back birdies got the two-time NOPGA Professional Championship winner to two-under and made up for two bogeys on the front.
Atchison, the 2011 NOPGA Senior Player-of-the-Year, turned in the only bogey-free round of the day. He made the turn at one-under but birdied two of the first three holes on the back and added another pair on the par-3 14th and on the 387-yard 15th, regarded as one of the toughest holes on the course.
Hansen, a two-time Section Player-of-the-Year, had two bogeys on his first nine holes but was bogey-free on the back, with three birdies.
Play resumes Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
ROUND 1 RESULTS: Northern Ohio PGA
2022 NOPGA Mitchell-Haskell Tour Championship
Brookside Country Club, Canton, Ohio
Monday, September 19, 2022
T1 Randy Dietz Windmill Golf Center 33-35–68 -3
T1 DJ Holub Pepper Pike Club 34-34–68 -3
T1 Adam Lewicki Portage Country Club 36-32–68 -3
T1 Jim Troy Windmill Golf Center 35-33–68 -3
T5 Michael Balcar Brandywine Country Club 36-33–69 -2
T5 Jaysen Hansen Beechmont Country Club 36-33–69 -2
T5 Sean McGuire Pepper Pike Club 35-34–69 -2
T5 Mark Scott Jr. Brookside Country Club 36-33–69 -2
9 David Morgan Eagle Creek Golf Club 34-37–71 E
T10 Zack Ford Tippecanoe Country Club 38-34–72 +1
T10 Drew Pierson The Clubhouse 36-36–72 +1
T12 Nick Gustin Erie Shores Golf Course 36-37–73 +2
T12 Patrick Milkovich Canterbury Golf Club 37-36–73 +2
T12 Rob Moss Pepper Pike Club 37-36–73 +2
T15 Mark Bixler Kirtland Country Club 37-37–74 +3
T15 Darin de Lelys Westfield Group Country Club 39-35–74 +3
T15 William McKinley Sharon Golf Club 38-36–74 +3
T15 Nick Paez GolfTEC – Cleveland West 35-39–74 +3
T19 Cory Kumpf Brookside Country Club 38-37–75 +4
T19 Joe Puch Fox Meadow Country Club 39-36–75 +4
T19 Daniel Terry Chippewa Golf Club 36-39–75 +4
T22 Jordan Paolini Shaker Heights Country Club 38-38–76 +5
T22 Jared Toom GolfTEC-Stonebrook 40-36–76 +5
T24 Matthew Creech The Mayfield Sand Ridge Club – Sand Ridge 38-39–77 +6
T24 Joe Meglen StoneWater Golf Club 39-38–77 +6
T26 Ryan Brawley Northern Ohio PGA 38-41–79 +8
T26 Brett Coluccio Fore Golfers Indoor Golf Center 40-39–79 +8
T26 Zac Cork Pepper Pike Club 41-38–79 +8
29 Andy Silverman Canterbury Golf Club 39-42–81 +10
T30 Trent Maxwell Windmill Golf Center 43-39–82 +11
T30 Jason Nussbaum Congress Lake Club 40-42–82 +11
32 Adam Stinogle Westwood Country Club 45-39–84 +13
33 Mary Suitca Tannenhauf Golf Club 45-41–86 +14
34 Dylan Champney Avon Oaks Country Club 43-43–86 +15
35 Derek Smith Red Tail Golf Club 43-45–88 +17
1 Tom Atchison PGA Of America Life Member 34-32–66 -5
T2 Mitch Camp Club Walden 35-35–70 -1
T2 Scott Pollack 1899 Golf, CLE East 36-34–70 -1
T4 Tony Adcock Seven Hills Country Club 37-35–72 +1
T4 Tony Milam North Coast Junior Tour 35-37–72 +1
T4 Steve Parker Portage Country Club 36-36–72 +1
7 Rob Moss Pepper Pike Club 37-36–73 +2
T8 Jon Jones Youngstown Country Club 40-35–75 +4
T8 Gary Rusnak 1899 Golf, CLE East 38-37–75 +4
10 Eric Morgan Plum Brook Country Club 38-38–76 +5
11 Kevin Sullivan GolfTEC – Brecksville 41-37–78 +7
12 Dan Sutton Heather Downs Country Club 43-41–84 +13