WESTFIELD CENTER — Over half of the field at the 90th Ohio Open Championship on Monday afternoon finished their opening rounds. The rest of the competition will have to wait until this morning.
A rain delay of two hours made the North Course of Westfield Group Country Club unplayable and forced 129 players to finish their first rounds today at 7:30 a.m. before second-round action opens at approximately 8:30 a.m.
“We deemed that the North Course is not playable enough to get it ready for (Monday night),” Northern Ohio PGA Tournament director Dave Griffith said of the postponement. “With the first groups on the last hole, we figure (the 8:30 a.m. start) would give them enough time to turn around.”
A torrential downpour hit at 4:15 pm and was steady for over 20 minutes, leading to a delay that lasted until 6:30 p.m. before players were called into the clubhouse and the announcement was officially made.
The quick barrage of rain left the majority of greens with standing water and made the already-soft fairways – that soaked up over five inches of the wet stuff leading into Monday’s round – even more saturated.
According to tournament and Westfield officials, the North Course got hit the hardest, with that sectional of the club getting hit with a ½-inch more rain.
“By the time we would’ve gotten it cleaned up and got them out there, it just wasn’t doable,” Griffith said, “and to be honest, for them to come back in the morning really isn’t a big thing for us, because we can still preserve the second-round times by 30 minutes. So it wasn’t a pressing thing for us to get finished tonight and in that regard, it worked out great.”
With play suspended, six Lorain County residents were among the 135 golfers that finished their opening rounds.
The clubhouse leader of sorts locally is Columbia Station native Joey Krecic. Krecic, who led St. Edward to a ninth-place team finish at the Division I state tournament last fall, finished with a 1-over-par 71 on the South Course and sits in a tie for 25th place in the abbreviated field.
Krecic was consistent for most of his round, shooting even on 15 of his 18 holes, which included a birdie on the par-5, 532-yard No. 15 hole.
Elyria’s Travis Porter played the longer North Course and fired a 2-over 74, with the highlight of his round coming on a birdie on the par-3, No. 16 hole.
And despite having a pair of holes on the back nine that didn’t go his way, Porter feels he can make a run today before the field gets sliced in half for Wednesday’s final round.
“I had never seen that side of the course before,” he said. “I just had to hang in there. I had a lot of pars and one double bogey and a bogey that put me over par.
“The cuts the main thing and I’m a couple back from where it could potential be, but I played pretty well.”
Michael Campana of Vermilion carded a 76 Monday, while Lorain’s Russell Toth and Columbia Station’s Anton Krecic shot identical rounds of 78.
North Ridgeville’s John Topeka rounded out the area residents to finish with an 80.
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