WESTFIELD CENTER — Through six holes Wednesday, everything was going according to plan for Parker Hewit.
He found himself climbing the leaderboard on the final day of the 93rd Ohio Open Championship at Westfield Group Country Club, a course he practically has grown up on.
That’s when it all came crashing down.
Hewit went from chasing the leader to out of the top 10 as he tied for 13th.
“I took care of business there (in the first six holes), but then caught a really bad break on (No.) 7 and it felt like I was getting bad breaks the rest of the day,” said the Cloverleaf High graduate, who finished with a 4-under-par 208 for the three days. “I was lipping putts out and I made some really bad mental errors, some really poor swings, and that’s on me. It was 100 percent my fault.”
Hewit’s start was textbook, as he birdied four of the first six holes on the South Course and found himself 7-under par for the tournament and just four shots behind leader Kevin Hall of Cincinnati. Hewit’s stretch included having a look at eagle on the sixth hole.
The rest of his round was a different story. The Westfield Center native struggled on the difficult 211-yard par-3 No. 7 — a hole that gave a majority of the field problems all day — hitting a shot that stayed on the lip of a bunker and created a tougher shot at the pin.
“It hung up on the lip and could’ve fell in the bunker — it would’ve been a really easy bunker shot — but it stayed up on there for an impossible shot,” said Hewit, who took bogey on the hole. “Mentally, I just wasn’t there the rest of the day. It’s very frustrating.”
Hewit then three-putted No. 8 and had to bounce back from a bad tee shot on No. 10 to make him 1 under through 11 holes.
The former Bowling Green State standout got a little bit of his early round magic back with birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 15th, but missed a putt on 16 and mismanaged his tee shot on 18 to end the day with a 1-under 69.
“I got it back to (3 under) for the day, which was a pretty good spot to make a couple of birdies, and you never know,” he said. “It was a very disappointing way to finish, especially after going out like I did with a chance to make a good move on the back nine. I just didn’t have it today.”
Lewis Center’s Tim Ailes won the top prize, as he followed a bogey-free 4-under 66 with birdies on a pair of playoff holes to beat Garrett Frank of Youngstown.
Montville Township’s Howard Clendenin and Medina’s Bob Henighan shot 3-over 73s, as tough pin placements made each hole a different challenge.
After two consistent rounds to open the event, Clendenin had a roller coaster Wednesday, as three bogeys and a double bogey led to him to tying for 49th.
“There was some tough pins out there, and I just couldn’t hit the ball close to the hole,” said Clendenin, who birdied both par-5s. “I struggled a little bit and didn’t give myself many birdie opportunities. It was an uphill battle, especially on these greens. You have to hit the ball in the right spot. If you do, you can score well, but if you don’t, it makes it difficult.”
Henighan’s round went the same way, as the 1988 Gazette MVP, who tied for 10th last year, tied for 54th after a stretch in which he bogeyed five of eight holes in the middle of his round. He did, however, have three birdies to prevent a meltdown.
“I started off good, hit it good, putted good, but they just didn’t drop today,” Henighan said. “Overall it was a fun tournament, though, and I’m ready for next year.”
The area’s other participant, Medina’s Austin Schreiber, was eight shots off the lead coming in but struggled around the green either with tough iron shots or putts that wouldn’t drop. The current Ashland University standout fired a 7-over 77 and tied for 59th.
“Off the tee, it was the same as the first two rounds. It was just the greens,” he said. “I feel like the superintendent put the hole in and lifted it up so it was like a mound and I had three-putts. I didn’t hit my irons real (well), so I had long-length putts every time.
“My first four holes I had pars, so I was just waiting for something to go in, and then I three-putted and just couldn’t get it back.”
Steve Weir fired a final-round 1-over 71 to tie for 36th. The Brunswick graduate and Berea resident got off to a great start, playing 3 under through his 10 holes before hitting the first of four bogeys to end with a 3-over 215.
• According to tournament officials, a site for next year’s Open has yet to be finalized, but Westfield is in the mix. The local course has hosted the last two tournaments.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.