The invitational, which is a one-day affair and was held at the Oak Knolls East Course in Kent, serves as the Ohio qualifier for the Junior Tour _ a series of National Tournaments beginning in the fall.
There were approximately 132 entrants in this year's outing, divided among four divisions. The ages of the players ranged from junior high all the way through high school. The top 15 finishers, regardless of division, get an invitation to the tour.
"My husband and I started this tournament 10 years ago, and just before he died, he asked that we continue to carry it on," said tournament director Beth Pfeiffer, alluding to her late husband, Dick, who had been head golf coach at Kent Roosevelt for over 20 years.
Pfeiffer, who has been the Davey Middle School golf coach for the past 15 years, says the tournament serves a two-fold purpose for future and present days high school golfers _ to acquire tournament experience and to qualify players for the junior tour.
"One of the main reasons we started it is because we are real strong advocates that the kids need to have tournament play to prepare them for the high school golf season," said Pfeiffer. "So we thought it was appropriate for us to run a tournament, since we were hosting it. Then (Jim) Rademacher (National Tournament Director) said, 'could you make it a qualifier for the junior tour,' which we were happy to do."
Canton Central Catholic's Mike Heim posted the best round Thursday with an 18-hole score of 74 over the par 71 layout. Canal Fulton Northwest's Tony Maksim followed with a 75, while Sean Kapa of Massillon Jackson and Jon Lenton of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney each ended the day at 76.
The top girls performer was Cari Mozingo. The Coventry junior-to-be, playing the East Course for the first time, conquered it with a score of 78.
"I hit the ball pretty good, pretty solid," said Mozingo, who as a freshman was a member of the Coventry squad that reached the state tournament. "The greens were pretty small, but I tried to have good aim."
Beth's two sons, Brent and David, are co-directors of the event. Brent, who is an assistant golf coach at Roosevelt, was impressed with Mozingo.
"Cari Mozingo has a lot of potential. I think she's a fantastic player for her age (16)," said Brent. "Her swing is real nice, the basic fundamentals of it. Her course management is fantastic for a kid of her age."
As in the past, there were participants from numerous Portage ounty League schools and several from Kent Roosevelt.
Roosevelt's Justin Miller, who participated in the Division II bracket (15-16 year olds), had the best score among area players with a 78, just making the cut.
Other Roosevelt participants included Nate Marshall (80); Brett Beatty (81); Steve Fowler and Kelly Flynn (85); Dan Giltz, Matt Barnard and Tyler Metz (88); Nick Sweda and Eric Dietz (91); Matt Strang and Ross Flynn (95).
Matt Hiestand and Tim Szweda, both from St. Patrick's Elementary School in Kent, shot a 117 and 92, respectively. Porter Hall, of Davey Middle School, tallied a 96.
"I was really pleased with the way the younger kids played, specifically Kelly Flynn and Giltz," said Brent Pfeiffer, who also is an assistant club pro at Brookledge Golf Course in Cuyahoga Falls. "They will be freshmen next year and they will be challenging some of the juniors for their positions on the team, at least the junior varsity team."
Chris Capriolo of Woodridge had the best outing among players from PCL schools with a round of 80, one stroke better than Crestwood's Joe Hentz (81) and five ahead of Field's Brett Walchalk (85). Southeast's Jeff Abbuhl and Matt Behner shot 98 and 99, respectively, while fellow Pirate Caleb Halulko registered a 107.