September 15, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria’s James Troy bounces back from slow start, picks up top-20 finish at Ohio Open

WESTFIELD CENTER — It was a roller-coaster kind of day for Elyria’s James Troy on Wednesday at the 90th Ohio Open, but at least he was smiling at the end and not screaming.

A pair of bogeys on the front side at Westfield Group Country Club’s South Course got him off on the wrong foot, but he played the final nine at 2-under par for a final-round 1-under 69. He finished the three-day event at 4 under and in a tie for 16th.

“I birdied the first hole and I felt really good, but I kind of played the par-5 No. 3 wrong,” Troy said. “I should’ve hit more club and I left myself with a really awkward chip. I was in the fairway and I flubbed it, and I ended up bogeying a hole I easily should’ve made birdie.

“That really took the wind out of my sails, but I made a couple nice birdies on the back.”

Upper Arlington’s Colin Biles rallied to win the title, carding a 5-under 65 for the second straight day to finish 14 under for the tournament. He beat out Kent’s John Hahn and Lewis Center’s Tim Ailes by two strokes.

Troy was 1 over through his first 14 holes, but got back-to-back birdies at the par-5 15th and par-3 16th to save his round.

“The driver was finally starting to click and I was finally hitting it where I was looking,” he said. “I was just in more holes and in better position today. I’m hitting it pretty good and I think I have to learn how to score better when I’m not practicing as much.”

One of the reason’s the 39-year-old isn’t practicing as much is that he recently moved from Florida to become the assistant golf pro at Elyria Country Club. So to finish in the top 20 in a field filled with pros and amateurs who have loaded summer schedules, was more than a little satisfying.

“It’s definitely a bonus,” he said. “I’m working full time now, so I’m not practicing as much as I like. I was playing full time on the mini-tours in Florida for six years. I’m going to feel way more comfortable next year out here because I know the lay of the land now and I know what to hit off of certain tees.

“This was a good learning experience and it was a positive week.”

Two other area residents were in action Wednesday. Penfield Township’s Bryan Yeo shot a 3-over 73 to finish in a tie for 60th, while Columbia Station’s Joey Krecic shot a 7-over 77 to finish tied for 66th.

Yeo, a former Keystone standout and current Youngstown State golfer, played even-par golf for most of the day. But a triple bogey on the par-3, 211-yard seventh hole hurt.

“It was good until No. 7,” said Yeo, a YSU junior. “Besides that hole I played pretty well. It happens though. There are bad holes and everyone has them and there’s nothing you can do. You just try and recover and bring it back.”

Thanks to a handful of 3- and 5-foot putts for par, Yeo played even golf from there. He also had a birdie on No. 17 and placed in the event for the third straight year.

“There are 267 guys here, so to make the top 70, that’s pretty big,” Yeo said. “I’m real happy about that and that’s what I wanted to do.”

Krecic, who was playing in his first final round in four tries at the Open, struggled to get much of anything going early.

The St. Edward senior bogeyed six of his first 12 holes before recording a birdie on the par-4 14th. He was 8 over for the tournament.

“I was just a little out of my rhythm the whole time,” Krecic said. “I didn’t hit the greens that much and that was the biggest thing.
There were a lot of shots that I left out there.

“The goal was to make the cut and I accomplished my goal (Tuesday). So today was just to come out here and enjoy myself.”

* The 91st edition of the Ohio Open will return to Westfield’s North and South Courses next July it was announced. Specific dates are to be determined.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.