Luke Kindelin birdied two of his last four holes to put some distance between himself and his closest competitor, and went on to win a different kind of Shelby County Open Men’s Golf Tournament Sunday at Shelby Oaks.
In the past, the first flight played the first round at Shelby Oaks, and the final round at the Moose, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
A drenching afternoon rain dumped in excess of two inches of rain in parts of Sidney, including the Moose Saturday. Oaks club pro Rob Fridley and Moose pro Jeff Westover were in constant communication, and when Fridley called Westover at 6 a.m. Sunday, he was told there was still standing water on the greens.
The Moose was closed to all play on Sunday, and Fridley scrambled to conclude the tournament at Shelby Oaks. He used all 27 holes, since all four flights completed their play on that course.
That was probably good news to Barry Godown, who shot a first-round 70 Saturday at the Oaks to take a 2-stroke lead into the final round at the same course. But he started out with a double bogey, and Kindelin seized the opportunity. He birdied his first two holes Sunday, and when Godown followed the double with a bogey, Kindelin took the top spot and never relinquished it.
“After I got the lead, I was pretty consistent,” said Kindelin, who won the Open back in 2013. “I came out fast and then just settled in.”
However, 2014 champion Nate Fridley wouldn’t let Kindelin take it easy all the way to the end, finishing the day with a 70 to equal Kindelin’s final-round score.
Going to the 15th hole, the two were just one stroke apart.
“I hit a good drive,” said Kindelin. “Within about 65 yards. I put my second shot about six feet from the cup. The putt wasn’t an easy one, but I made it. That hole was a game-changer.”
That gave him a two stroke lead, and he added another stroke two holes later when he again birdied to take a 3-stroke lead to the final hole.
“Nate doesn’t make mistakes,” said Kindelin, who will be a senior on the golf team at Otterbein this fall. “He never gave me a chance to breath. That’s why 15 was so big for me.”
Kindelin finished with a 140 and Fridley had 142. Three-time Open champ Brad Goffena was third with a 148 and Wil Fridley fourth at 149.
• Meanwhile, in the Shelby County Ladies Open, defending champion Emily Knouff was clearly the class of the field again, shooting a 75 to win the 18-hole tournament by 17 strokes over fellow Fort Loramie native Ashley Ordean.
It was tight after the first nine Saturday, with Knouff holding just a 4-stroke lead over Ordean, who shot a 40 on the front.
“Ashley was right there with me after the first nine, but she struggled a little after that,” said Knouff, who will be just a junior at Fort Loramie High School later this year. “I thought I played well, but everyone always wants more. But I’m happy with it.”
She would like to see more ladies compete in the tournament. There were just 10 signed up, and only four in the first flight.
“I love playing in this tournament,” she said.
Hollie Kovacs | Sidney Daily News
Eric Burgasser | Sidney Daily News
The writer is the sports editor of the Sidney Daily News. He can be reached at 937-538-4818.