BOB SOWARDS, MIKE STONE SHARE FIRST-ROUND LEAD
One man has been there so often someone joked the Northern Ohio PGA should just retire the trophy and let him take it home.
The other man has been close but has never been to the top of the mountain, so to speak.
That scenario sets up what could be an intriguing finish to today’s 38th Michelob Ultra Ohio Senior Open at Firestone Country Club.
Firm fairways and greens made scoring difficult as only 13 players in the field of 139 managed to shoot par or better.
The man whose name is inscribed on the championship trophy more than anyone in the field is none other than Dublin’s Bob Sowards, he has four consecutive Senior Open titles – a tournament record — and the Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell.
The man who would like to see his name added to that trophy for the first time is Perrysburg’s Mike Stone, the Director of Instruction at Belmont Country Club, and making just his second appearance in the event for players 50-and-over.
Playing in the same three-some that included Fairlawn’s Howard Clendenin – a Firestone member and the runner-up to Sowards in the 2020 Senior Open.
Sowards and Stone each shot 3-under 67 on Wednesday to share the first-round lead and will be paired together again on Thursday for the final 18 holes on Firestone’s Fazio Course.
This time their playing partner will be Concord Township amateur Brad Steven, who owns sole possession of third place after an opening two-under 68, in which he was one of five players in the field of 139 to make five birdies.
Five players – three of which are no strangers to the top of NOPGA leaderboards — are tied for fourth place at 69. Lurking just two shots behind are three-time Ohio Open champion Rob Moss, reigning Toledo Open and multiple Section winner Steve Parker, and reigning Denny Shute Match Play champ Jon Jones, as well as Massillon amateur Dan Belden and Southern Ohio PGA member Mike Thomas, general manager at Sharon Woods Golf Club in Cincinnati.
Belden, an 11-time winner on the Ben Hogan, Nike, Buy.com and Nationwide tours and a former assistant at Mayfield Country Club, before regaining his amateur status, also was one of the five with five birdies.
Sowards, who has qualified for the U.S. Senior Open, can become the first five-time winner of the Ohio Senior Open. Soon to be 55, Sowards made the turn at 3-under par 32 and got to 4-under with another birdie on the 478-yard 13th, but slipped back to 3-under with a bogey on the par-3 14th.
In his four Senior Open victories, which shares the record with NOPGA Hall-of-Famer Gary Robison, Sowards has eight sub-par rounds, including a tournament record-tying 63 when he won in 1999.
Stone, runner-up in last year’s Toledo Open Senior Division and in the NOPGA Senior Professional event at Westbrook Country Club, used eagles to close out his round with a back-nine 4-under 31, the lowest nine-hole score of the day.
After making the turn at one-over, he made a 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 12th and followed that with his first eagle on the 478-yard 13th. A perfect drive and a near-perfect 7-iron shot that stopped two feet below the hole left him with a kick-in.
Three straight pars, which included a birdie miss from five feet on the par-3 14th, got him to the 506-yard 17th.
Another great drive left him with a 9-iron to the green and his shot came to rest 10 feet from the hole. He made a tricky left-to-right slider to get to four-under for the round and only a bogey on the 18th kept him from sole possession of the lead.
“I started off a little slow but things got a lot better on the back,” Stone said. “It was nice to see those putts go in, especially the one on 17.”
Richard Marlowe, an amateur from Youngstown, has a one-shot lead over Springfield’s Pat Delaney, the head professional at Reid Memorial Park and amateur Cal Wood from Athens, OH in the Senior Plus Division, for players 60-and-over.
Starting on the back nine, Marlowe got off to a quick start with three birdies to make the turn in 32. He made seven straight pars to start his final nine holes before making his lone bogey on the 413-yard eighth to finish at 2-under 68.
Delaney, fifth in the event in 2021, birdied the 18th hole to finish one-under and one back.
Paul Hollenbaugh, the Director of Golf at New Albany Country Club near Columbus, made the shot of the day when he made the fifth hole-in-one of his career on the 166-yard seventh hole.
ROUND 1 RESULTS: Northern Ohio PGA
2023 Ohio Senior Open
Firestone Country Club Fazio Course, Akron – Par 70
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Sponsored By: Michelob Ultra & House of LaRose
Presented By: Invited Clubs & Firestone Country Club
Blue Golf Leaderboard >
Senior Division (50 & Over)
T1 Bob Sowards Dublin, OH 32-35–67 -3
T1 Mike Stone Perrysburg, OH 36-31–67 -3
3 Brad Steven (a) Concord Township, OH 35-33–68 -2
T4 Dan Belden (a) Massillon, OH 34-35–69 -1
T4 Jon Jones Warren, OH 35-34–69 -1
T4 Rob Moss Broadview Heights, OH 35-34–69 -1
T4 Steve Parker Akron, OH 35-34–69 -1
T4 Mike Thomas Loveland, OH 37-32–69 -1
T9 Dave Antill (a) Dublin, OH 33-37–70 E
T9 Sam Arnold Cincinnati, OH 36-34–70 E
T9 Mike Haynes (a) Gallipolis, OH 37-33–70 E
T9 Tim Krapfel Centerville, OH 39-31–70 E
T9 Dennis Miller Youngstown, OH 35-35–70 E
T14 Craig Goldsberry Lewis Center, OH 35-36–71 +1
T14 Harold Wallace McDermott, OH 35-36–71 +1
T16 Tom Atchison Silver Lake, OH 37-35–72 +2
T16 Peter Betzold (a) West Chester, OH 37-35–72 +2
T16 Mitch Camp Aurora, OH 34-38–72 +2
T16 Allen Freeman (a) Brecksville, OH 35-37–72 +2
T16 Mark Guadagni (a) Hudson, OH 35-37–72 +2
T16 Paul Hollenbaugh New Albany, OH 35-37–72 +2
T16 Darrin Vaughan Bolivar, OH 36-36–72 +2
T23 John Connelly Perrysburg, OH 39-34–73 +3
T23 Ken Kinkopf (a) Dublin, OH 38-35–73 +3
T23 Scott Pollack Chagrin Falls, OH 37-36–73 +3
T23 Steve Stone Maumee, OH 37-36–73 +3
T27 Tony Adcock Canton, OH 40-34–74 +4
T27 Chris Black Lancaster, OH 38-36–74 +4
T27 Howard Clendenin (a) Fairlawn, OH 38-36–74 +4
T27 Monty Guest (a) Solon, OH 39-35–74 +4
T27 Rick Harmon (a) Winchester, OH 37-37–74 +4
T27 Jeff Harper (a) Coolville, OH 37-37–74 +4
T27 Jim Karr Columbia Station, OH 40-34–74 +4
T27 Robert Koch Medina, OH 37-37–74 +4
T27 Nick Myers Sylvania, OH 36-38–74 +4
T27 Gary Rusnak Painesville, OH 37-37–74 +4
T37 Troy Boswell (a) Reynoldsburg, OH 38-37–75 +5
T37 Dean Cutlip (a) Copley, OH 36-39–75 +5
T37 Doug Ison (a) Jackson, OH 39-36–75 +5
T37 Mike Kaido Zanesville, OH 37-38–75 +5
T37 Sean Kenily New Philadelphia, OH 38-37–75 +5
T37 Tony Milam Concord Township, OH 37-38–75 +5
T37 Kurt Peterson (a) Massillon, OH 39-36–75 +5
T37 Joe Podolski (a) Worthington, OH 36-39–75 +5
T37 Andy Santor Youngstown, Ohio 41-34–75 +5
T37 Tom Waitrovich Westlake, Ohio 38-37–75 +5
T47 Thomas Bach Springboro, OH 40-36–76 +6
T47 Roy Fankhauser (a) Palm Beach Gardens, FL 40-36–76 +6
T47 Stephen Mayes (a) Westerville, OH 37-39–76 +6
T47 Eric Morgan Sandusky, OH 40-36–76 +6
T47 Mark Warden (a) Vincent, OH 37-39–76 +6
T52 Timothy Ailes Delaware, OH 37-40–77 +7
T52 Larry King Cincinnati, OH 38-39–77 +7
T52 Jack Pawelkoski Dayton, OH 37-40–77 +7
T52 Michael Riley (a) Akron, OH 38-39–77 +7
T52 Ronald Salerno Broadview Hts, OH 42-35–77 +7
T52 Scott Savage Mount Vernon, OH 39-38–77 +7
T52 Bob Stephens Springboro, OH 37-40–77 +7
T52 Kevin Sullivan Painesville, OH 39-38–77 +7
T52 Michael Sweany (a) Massillon, OH 40-37–77 +7
T52 Gary Trivisonno Aurora, OH 42-35–77 +7
T62 Ray Finnearty Delaware, OH 43-35–78 +8
T62 Saumil Jhaveri (a) Westlake, OH 40-38–78 +8
T62 Dean Pahr (a) Beachwood, OH 38-40–78 +8
T62 Robert Spino (a) New Franklin, OH 36-42–78 +8
T66 Benjamin Aveni (a) Painesville, OH 41-38–79 +9
T66 Joseph Borawski Massillon, OH 41-38–79 +9
T66 Peter Butler (a) Medina, OH 42-37–79 +9
T66 John Goodson Hudson, OH 42-37–79 +9
T66 Scott Karabin Warren, OH 41-38–79 +9
T66 Michael Shulas Salem, OH 40-39–79 +9
T72 Justin Long Ravenna, OH 39-41–80 +10
T72 Dan Sutton Toledo, OH 40-40–80 +10
T72 Brian Vincelette (a) Wadsworth, OH 39-41–80 +10
T75 Derek Kesig (a) Delaware, OH 41-40–81 +11
T75 Michael McCarthy (a) Toledo, OH 38-43–81 +11
T75 Russell Papa Aurora, OH 41-40–81 +11
T78 Brian Beebe (a) Uniontown, OH 40-42–82 +12
T78 Dennis Dempsey (a) Madison, OH 41-41–82 +12
T78 Edward Diebold (a) Coventry Township, OH 42-40–82 +12
T78 Daniel Terry Wadsworth, OH 41-41–82 +12
82 Roger Tolley (a) Willard, OH 42-41–83 +13
83 Jay Davis (a) St Clairsville, OH 41-43–84 +14
T84 Brad Cavey Medina, OH 46-39–85 +15
T84 Jeff Thrams (a) North Canton, OH 42-43–85 +15
86 John Toth (a) Akron, OH 44-42–86 +16
87 Robert Wadsworth (a) Uniontown, OH 44-44–88 +18
88 Chris Helaney (a) Lakewood, OH 47-44–91 +21
89 Wayne Moler (a) Waterford, OH 49-46–95 +25
90 Brad Stewart (a) Doylestown, OH 45-52–97 +27
Senior Plus Division (60 & Over)
1 Richard Marlowe (a) Youngstown, OH 36-32–68 -2
T2 Pat Delaney Springfield, OH 35-34–69 -1
T2 Cal Wood (a) Athens, OH 34-35–69 -1
4 Scott Spence Sunbury, OH 39-31–70 E
5 John Rodney (a) Kettering, OH 36-35–71 +1
6 Scott Perry (a) Lowell, OH 34-38–72 +2
T7 Michael Hochschwender (a) Akron, OH 37-36–73 +3
T7 John Jewell (a) Centerville, OH 36-37–73 +3
T7 Dan Malloy (a) Avon, OH 38-35–73 +3
T10 Jim Groh (a) Hinckley, OH 39-35–74 +4
T10 Edward Steiber (a) Cincinnati, OH 37-37–74 +4
T12 George Allen (a) Warren, OH 37-38–75 +5
T12 Mark Boothby (a) Cincinnati, OH 36-39–75 +5
T12 Steve Groves Columbus, OH 39-36–75 +5
T12 Frank Guise (a) Westlake, OH 36-39–75 +5
T12 Jeffrey Knox (a) Boston Hts., OH 39-36–75 +5
T17 Tom Baugh (a) Akron, OH 38-38–76 +6
T17 David Clarke (a) Saint Clairsville, OH 40-36–76 +6
T17 Curtis Cranmer (a) Waynesville, OH 37-39–76 +6
T17 Dan DeVore (a) Cincinnati, OH 38-38–76 +6
T17 William Downing (a) Akron, OH 38-38–76 +6
T17 Marc Fried (a) Solon, OH 39-37–76 +6
T17 Larry Lahnan (a) Aurora, OH 39-37–76 +6
T17 Raymond Najda (a) Olmsted Township, OH 40-36–76 +6
T17 Steven Shaw Brecksville, OH 40-36–76 +6
T17 Larry Stefanov Uniontown, OH 35-41–76 +6
T17 Terry Tyson (a) Perrysburg, OH 38-38–76 +6
T28 David Belden (a) Port Clinton, OH 37-40–77 +7
T28 Jim Durr (a) Silver Lake, OH 37-40–77 +7
T28 Jeff Semple (a) Canton, OH 38-39–77 +7
T31 Clay Baker (a) Galena, OH 35-43–78 +8
T31 Mark Borlin (a) Stow, OH 43-35–78 +8
T31 Randy Reifers (a) Milford, OH 38-40–78 +8
T31 Terry Shell Wintersville, OH 39-39–78 +8
T35 Lou Boarman (a) Mogadore, OH 41-38–79 +9
T35 Dave Ison (a) Pedro, OH 40-39–79 +9
T35 Ron Rositani (a) Willowick, OH 37-42–79 +9
T38 Raul Mendoza (a) North Lawrence, OH 42-38–80 +10
T38 Mark Thomas (a) Jackson Twp, OH 39-41–80 +10
T40 Charles Goodwin Amherst, OH 41-40–81 +11
T40 Jeff Luken (a) Middleburg Hts., OH 41-40–81 +11
T40 Michael Ross (a) Hinckley, OH 38-43–81 +11
T40 Jeff Thompson (a) Cincinnati, OH 41-40–81 +11
T44 Mike Cassell (a) Hudson, OH 42-40–82 +12
T44 Randy Crider (a) Brunswick, OH 41-41–82 +12
46 Stephen Baker (a) North Royalton, OH 39-44–83 +13
47 Kim Boehlke Youngstown, OH 40-44–84 +14
48 Leo Szczepanski (a) Seven Hills, OH 39-47–86 +16