July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Ohio Open: Medina’s Henighan, Westfield Center’s Hewit make cut

Westfield Center’s Parker Hewit hits a tee shot during the second round of the Ohio Open. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

WESTFIELD CENTER — Like the majority of the field that didn’t get to finish their opening rounds Monday at the Ohio Open Championship, Bob Henighan didn’t want to leave.

Why would he?

The Medina resident was 3-under par through 11 holes and in the upper half of the field.

Luckily for the 1988 Gazette MVP, the momentum carried to Tuesday’s second round as Henighan is four shots off the lead heading into today’s final round at Westfield Group Country Club.

“I don’t know what it was, but I want it to rub off, that’s for sure,” Henighan said with a laugh. “I just hit it solid. I found something on the range and had one swing putt. I usually have six or seven.”

Henighan, who has been a member at Westfield since he was 12 years old, finished his first round on the South Course with a 4-under 66 and followed with a 4-under 68 on the North.

He’s been so consistent that he has hit every green in regulation. His three bogeys all came on holes where he needed three putts.

“It’s an advantage,” Henighan said of knowing the course. “There’s definitely little things around here you need to know about. The greens are a little trickier, so some local knowledge definitely helps.”

Joining Henighan in today’s final round will be Westfield Center’s Parker Hewit, who made his first cut at the event since 2011.

It wasn’t easy for the 2007 Gazette MVP and Cloverleaf product, who, like Henighan, had seven holes remaining before even thinking about his second round.
A 5½-footer for par waiting for him made sleeping a tough task.

“It was kind of tough because if you make it, it’s a big confidence and momentum booster and if you miss it, it’s kind of a bad note to start on,” Hewit said. “I ended up lipping that out for par, and from there it was tough to get the momentum.”

The putt haunted Hewit through his first nine on the South course, as he carded a 5-over 40 with four bogeys and a double bogey. He bounced back to close his round, as he holed four birdies on his last nine to shoot 4 under and sit at even-par 142.

It was wasn’t easy for Hewit when everything was going wrong, but a little help from his good friend and caddy, Matt Horner, helped him get through it.

“Coming from shooting a 40, it’s tough to bounce back from that, especially on your home course,” Hewit said. “It was embarrassing, but Matt was very reassuring when I really needed it.

“I was able to shake it off and find a couple of good swings, and you just try to hit one good shot at a time and build off that. He was definitely a big help today to have him on the bag and I give him all the credit.”

A trio headlines the field as Kent’s John Hahn, Lewis Center’s Tim Ailes and Uniontown’s Ross Beal are at 130.

With those big-time scores, the cut of 3 over left a host of area products on the outside looking in.

Medina residents Austin Schreiber (77-69—146) and William McKinley (69-77—146) were a shot off the cut, followed by Spencer Koch (74-73—147).

“I finished up good this morning and the afternoon started out fine, but I hit a couple of bad wedges and had a couple of bad putts and not enough birdies,” said McKinley, who played 23 holes on the day. “There’s a lot of good players and not a lot of spots when there is 264 guys in the field.”

Bob Koch, who had made the last six cuts at the Ohio Open, struggled to an 8-over 80 on the North Course to finish six shots off the pace, while fellow Medina resident Pete Skirpstas, who was the highest county placer a year ago, finished seven strokes back.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.