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Brudzinski pulls through with the comeback

By DON HOHLER • Aug 9, 2017 at 9:29 PM

HURON — If you compare it to horse racing, TJ Brudzinski fell five lengths back in the first six furlongs but then made a stretch run that saw him pick off eight ponies in front of him and win by one length. In golfing terms, the Fremont transplant who now plays out of Columbus, used a 5-under par 31 on Plum Brook’s front side on Tuesday, to get back into contention and then finish things off with a brilliant 40-yard chip shot to within two-feet on the 36th and final hole, making birdie for the defining stroke of the 2017 Ohio Senior Amateur Hall of Fame Tournament.

“I heard talk that no one behind me was setting the world on fire,” Brudzinski stated. “I knew if I played mistake-free golf I had a chance. I did have one hiccup on the back, that coming on 16 when I backed a wedge off the green into the bunker. My par putt spun out.

“I came out of the box on fire, hitting it to within three-feet on 1 and made the putt. I then added birdies on 3, 4 and 6. The one on 4 was a 20-foot curler that found the bottom. I made a great birdie on 11, that hole where you have the blind approach shot. I added a birdie on 15 and then hit what I knew was an important chip shot on 18 and made the short putt. But, what well may have won it for me was my scrambling par on 17th after blocking my second shot into the trees,”

Same-old, same-old inferred Doug Lockwood, one of two players who lost by a stroke with 139 totals.

“I play a lot of tournaments with TJ and more often than I want to remember, the finish is like this. He has a game that has no weakness. He drives it long which puts wedges in his hands and he putts well. We heard him coming as the word was out that he made the turn in 5-under.

“I knew I had a shot at holding him off but when I double-bogeyed 16 and could only make par on the two par 5’s (17 and 18) I knew it was iffy,” the 57-year-old Ostrander, OH native stated.

The other player who finished one stroke back at 139 was defending champion Tim Ford from Lewis Center.

“We (He and Lockwood) made a mess of 16,” he admitted. I three-putted from 30-feet, leaving what I thought was a downhill putt, five feet short. I promptly missed and then could only par 17. I did birdie 18 but I just had a feeling it was too little, too late.”

Two other players were tied at 142 including first-round co-leader Ray Sovik from Powell, OH. He added a 74 to his opening round of 68.

The leader of the Huron County contingent, Roger Tolley, Willard, was one of two players in at 143 after putting a 73 with his Monday round of 70.

“I was on pace for another decent round,” Tolley believed. “But, then out of nowhere I shank a simple approach shot on 10, 40 yards to the right and end up making double. From then on the name of the game was “scramble”.

Tolley, 54, had a card that showed sides of 36 and 37 on a round that included birdies on 6 and 8 from putts of 16 and 20-feet, respectively.

“I shot the number of trombones in the band and played my fool head off on the back to make that 76 happen,” Norwalk’s Rod Bordman claimed. “Talk about a balky driver. I contemplated leaving it in the bag. But, to be honest, it was down-right ugly right from the get-go. I tripled No. 2 which went a long way in helping me to a fat 40 on the front. I did get my act together in the back when I made birdie on 15,16 and 17, all five-foot putts give-or-take a couple inches.

“I rode with a guy (Brudzinski) who put on a clinic,” Bordman assured. “That guy can flat out play. He has a swing which I truly hope to copy. It is very compact. No hinges. Just down with an explosion on the bottom. The guy deserved to win.”

Tolley and Boardman finished 1-2 in their age bracket.

Norwalk’s Chris Bleile, elgible for the senior event (50 and over) for the first time, was happy with his comeback 73 on Tuesday. He shot an unrealistic 80 on a “4” handicap on Monday.

“I started kind of ugly again today in going 4-over after six holes and eventually playing the front in 39 strokes. But a 34 on the back gave me some hope that there is a tomorrow. One thing I am proud of and that is I hit every fairway today and that is saying something on this course.”

Billy Terry could not keep the wheels on a second day. After his 78 on Monday, he took three big numbers on Tuesday, two 7’s and a 9 in adding an 87 to his total.

“Just didn’t have my mind on the game today,” he admitted. “More nerves than anything. That’s one reason I don’t play in to many events like this.”

Not even Jim Boling who has a club championship at Plum Brook along with senior titles five of the last six years, could come close to the first-round 77 he shot on Monday. He skied to a 86 on Tuesday.

“It didn’t take me long to lose interest this morning,” the 60-year jewelry store owner admitted. “I have no excuses for playing that poorly on my home course.”

The following are the scores by age group of the area contingent:

50-54-Roger Tolley, Willard 70-73-143, Rod Bodman, Norwalk, 73-76-149, Chris Bleile, Norwalk 80-73-153, Randy Rankin, Bellevue 75-79-154, Harry Perdue, Milan, 79-79-158, Mike Trapp, Bellevue 83-83-166.

60-64-Dave Belden, Port Clinton 77-77-154, Bruce Boissoneault, Sandusky, 77-77-154, Tom Bollenbacher, Huron, 78-73-160, Jim Boling, Sandusky 77-86-163, Craig Soule, Port Clinton 82-86-168.

65-69-Bill Terry, Norwalk 78-87-165, Pat Gioffre, Huron 91-82-173.

70-Up – Jan Sadoski, Sandusky 76-76-152, Don Gustovich, Huron, 82-86-168, Bill Monaghan, Sandusky, 89-84-173, Harold Cassel, Castalia 88-91-179.

Actual Low Gross & Low Net Winners

50-54-Gross and Net-Tim Ford, Lewis Center, 139 and 133.

55-59-TJ Brudzinski, Columbus, gross 138, Mark Mickley, Columbus, 139.

60-64-John Zilkovic, Findlay, and Mike Cassel, Hudson, low gross at 144, Steve Jones, Columbus, and Don Wright, Hilliard, low net at 139.

65-69-Ray Sovik, Powell, low gross at 142, Neil Gerhart, Mansfield, low net at 134.

70-up – John Richart, Ann Arbor, MI, low gross at 158, Jan Sadoski, Sandusky, shot 76-76 for net scores of 64-64-128.

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