July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Ohio Open: Henighan confident at Westfield

WESTFIELD CENTER — There aren’t many competitors that will hit the course this week at the 93rd Ohio Open Championships and know Westfield Group Country Club better than Bob Henighan.
Since he was 12 years old, Westfield has been a second home to the Medina resident.
Last year it showed.
In his first Ohio Open appearance, the 42-year-old tied for 10th, something he is hoping to repeat when the event opens Monday.
“I’m praying for the same magic,” Henighan said. “I don’t know about an encore, but if I play as good as I did last year, it will be a lot of fun.
“It was fun last year, but if it wasn’t at Westfield, I don’t think I would be in the top 20.”
For the last three decades, Henighan has been playing the course. In that time, he was a standout for Medina, where he earned Gazette and Pioneer Conference MVP awards before competing for the University of
His ability to manage to the layout at Westfield, however, hasn’t always been easy.
“I can remember my first tournament I qualified for when I was 13,” Henighan said. “It was the Big I Insurance one and I took last place, shooting 98 and 102. I’ve gotten a little better since then.”
Indeed he has.
Henighan is not one that signs up for every Northern Ohio PGA event, but he keeps himself in shape by playing club events at Westfield.
When the Open was moved to Westfield last year, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play alongside the best the state has to offer.
What Henighan didn’t expect was contending after finishing a weather-delayed first round on the South Course with a 4-under-par 66 and then playing a complete second round on the same day, carding a 4-under 68 on the North Course. He went on to shoot a 2-over 72 on the final day for a 6-under 206 total and top-10 finish.
“It was kind of surprising last year with what guys were shooting,” said Henighan, who is slated to tee off at 8:40 a.m. Monday, along with 18 other Medina County residents. “My goal is 10 under, because 15 under will probably win that. I just want to shoot the best that I can and take it one shot at a time.”
The 1989 Medina graduate knows that in a field where the top three finishers — Colin Biles of Upper Arlington, John Hahn of Kent and Tim Ailes of Lewis Center — posted totals of 12 under or better, he will need to limit any miscues and stay focused.
And make some putts.
“As far as a score, my goal is to keep it in the 60s,” he said. “If I do that and get under par, I can get into the final. You really do have to take it one shot at a time, though, because if you get a head of yourself, that’s when you make mistakes.”
“The key for me is putting. I was hitting it well last year (at the Open) and I’m doing that now, but the key is making those crucial putts.”
Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.