AVON — Monday was a fine day for golf — mild temperatures, a sunny sky, a gentle breeze — and the scores reflected it.
The course record at Avon Oaks Country Club was broken by one golfer and tied by two others Monday at the qualifying tournament for the Nationwide Legend Financial Group Classic that gets under way Thursday at Stonewater Country Club in Highland Heights.
Clark Dennis of Fort Worth, Texas, fired an 8-under-par 64 to break the course mark of 65 set by Anthony Kim in last year’s Cleveland Open qualifying tournament. Kim is now on the PGA Tour.
Dennis, 41, shot 33 on the front nine and 31 on the back nine. He had an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole, eight birdies and two bogeys.
“You’re always surprised when you shoot as low as 64,” Dennis said. “What made it surprising for me today was that I haven’t played much lately. I was in the U.S. Open qualifier, and that’s been about it. But I was hitting the greens and making my putts today.”
Dennis might’ve shaved a couple of strokes off his record performance had he not three-putted two holes.
Dennis, a 20-year professional who won on the Nationwide tour in 1993, was one of 14 golfers to make it to the Cleveland Open. Monday’s tournament hosted 156 pros hoping to land a spot in the Stonewater event.
Dan Augustine of Schaumberg, Ill., and Ryan Vermeer of Lawrence, Kan., tied the Avon Oaks record, both shooting 34 on the front and 31 on the back. Dennis and Augustine posted their beauties in the morning. Vermeer shot his 65 in the afternoon.
“The greens are perfect here,” Augustine said. “They’re as good as anywhere. I had never played here before (Sunday), but I like this course.”
Two local golfers, Ted Smith of Westlake and Bradley Krupa of Lorain, failed to qualify. Smith shot 73 (37-36) in the morning and Krupa carded a 79 (41-38) in the afternoon.
Josh McCumber (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Bob Sowards (Dublin, Ohio) each shot 67. Scott Draper (Atlanta) and Adam Crawford (College Station, Texas) qualified with rounds of 68 each.
Fourteen golfers scored 69 for the day to forcing a sudden-death playoff to determine the final seven berths. The playoff lasted five holes before the field was filled.
The tournament drew golfers from 28 states and one Canadian province.
FOR BOX (qualifiers)
64 – Clark Dennis; 65 – Dan Augustine, Ryan Vermeer; 67 – Josh McCumber, Bob Sowards; 68 – Adam Crawford, Scott Draper; 69 – Kane Hanson, Tyler Leon, Kyle Monfort, Jin Park, Jason Swihart, Brian Unk, Kyle Weisenburger.