MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Public Golf Association’s final event of the season took place at Hiawatha Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday. The 22nd OPGA Ohio Memorial Senior Championship saw some of the best golfers 50-and-over from central Ohio vie for the title of best senior golfer.
For the first time, the prize went to Mark Thomas of Jackson Township in Stark County.
Thomas was 4-under and leading after Saturday’s round. He finished at 1-under on Sunday, giving him 139 for the weekend and his first major tournament victory.
The way Sunday started, it didn’t look like it was going to be Thomas’ trophy.
Thomas began the day with a par, a bogey, a triple-bogey and an 8. The setback put him at even-par after No. 4.
“I don’t know if I wasn’t ready to play or what,” said Thomas. “It was an awfully early morning after an hour-and-a-half drive down here. I just hit a bad drive on No. 1 and didn’t make the putt.”
He then lost his second shot on No. 3 and had to go back and replay it.
“My head was spinning like Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist’ at that point,” joked Thomas.
Thomas straightened out his drives and started picking away at the lead once again. He eventually birdied 12, 13, and 14 down the stretch. Just for good measure, he also birdied 18, giving him a three-stroke advantage over Springfield’s Dan Schuler.
This was Thomas’ third consecutive year at the tournament. His first try came two years ago, just after his 50th birthday.
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