WESTFIELD CENTER — For the first time this summer, Parker Hewit was pleased with how he hit the ball in his second round of the Ohio Open Championship.
Putting was another story.
Short game aside, Hewit’s ball-striking was enough Tuesday to secure a spot in the final round at Westfield Group Country Club.
He enters today six shots off the lead and tied for 12th.
“I hit the ball really well today, which is a breath of fresh air with the way I’ve been hitting it,” he said. “I’ve been in a big slump the last month and a half, and even though it’s frustrating to not get the putts to drop, I still hit it really well to go under par.”
Hewit was clicking on all cylinders through 13 holes on the North Course, as he was 3-under par with a streak of four birdies in five holes.
That’s when his putting woes started, as he missed a six-footer on No. 14 and a five-footer on 15 before three-putting for bogey on 17. Despite all that, Hewit’s two-day 3-under 139 has him in contention.
“I had it going,” he said of his start. “I was feeling really good after 13 and had good yardage into 14 and just one mental mistake there, but I can’t complain.
“I felt like I left some (strokes) out there with the way I was hitting it. My putter just wasn’t quite cooperating.”
Youngstown’s Garrett Frank leads the field by two strokes after carding a 5-under 67 for a 133 total.
Hewit joined Medina residents Austin Schreiber and Bob Henighan and Montville Township’s Howard Clendenin as area players that made the 60-player cut.
“The goal today was to go out there and play one hole at a time, try to make good decisions and, for the most part, I think I did,” Hewit said. “I’m looking forward to (today) and trying to get into the mix.”
After missing the cut by two strokes last summer, Schreiber advanced with 1-under 71 on the North Course. The former Medina and current Ashland University standout couldn’t have asked for a better start, as he was 2 under through 10 holes.
“My putter has been on pretty much this whole summer,” he said. “The greens were just perfect today — probably the best greens that I’ll ever putt on. It was easy. I just had to get the right speed and right line and it went in.”
Clendenin advanced thanks to a 1 over total for the two days. He followed a first-day 72 with a 1-over 71 on the South Course.
An amateur who has made the Open cut twice in four tries, Clendenin overcame a pair of early bogeys to birdie three of his first six holes, including the 532-yard par-5 15th.
“I didn’t drive the ball well today,” said Clendenin, who hit five fairways. “I just couldn’t get anything going, and on a lot of holes I found myself without a clear shot. I just had to survive.”
After a disappointing first round, Henighan went searching for answers. Little did he know the best swing tip would be from his 10-year-old daughter, Haley, who is a regular in the junior clinics at Westfield.
While the 1988 Gazette MVP wasn’t at liberty to share any of the info that helped him sit tied for 43rd with a 144, it was enough to get him to the final round for the second straight year. Henighan shot a 1-under 71 with a pair of birdies and just one bogey, making up for a 3-over day and placing him two strokes above the cut.
“No, it’s top secret,” he joked. “I have to give her all the credit.
“I played well today and was able to have some good putts and birdied the two par-3s (on the North course).”
Spencer Koch of Medina missed the cut for the second straight year, this time by a single shot with a 2-over 72 on the South and 146 total.
Fellow Medina native Pete Skirpstas couldn’t carry the momentum he had in the opening round Monday, as he finished Tuesday with an 8-over 78 and 7 over total.
Skirpstas knew from the start it just wasn’t his day.
“I hit the best iron shot I hit all week on the first hole and went up there and tried to ram it in for some reason and three-putted,” he said. “It was just a bad start. I just played myself out of it. Got a couple of bad breaks, couple of lip-outs on putts.”
Medina’s William McKinley (75-75—150) and Michael King (77-75—152) and Wadsworth’s Daniel Terry (75-77—152) were next in line among countians, while former Padua High standout and Brunswick resident Nick Schley was 11 shots off the pace in his first Open.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.