HUDSON — With all the rain this June, one might have thought the course at The Country Club of Hudson would be forgiving.
If scores from the 2019 Hudson Junior Invitational are to be believed, however. the course at CCH had plenty of bite.
In such an environment, a simple approach can be a good thing. That approach is exactly what Delaware’s Bryce Reed and Canton’s Jessica Hahn took, which led them to the titles Thursday at the Junior.
Hahn had the best tournament of any golfer, male or female. A recent graduate of Canton GlenOak High School, Hahn was the lone golfer to finish at even-par 216 for the tournament, shooting three straight rounds of 72.
Meanwhile, Reed had to fight through a tight field to win the boys title. He finished with a 3-over-par score of 219 (73-72-74).
Hahn would have broken par Thursday, if not for a three-putt on the 18th green, which gave her one of her two bogeys for the round. That three-putt cut her the final margin of victory to one stroke over Chagrin Falls native Jami Morris, who finished at 1-over par 217 (73-72-72).
Morris birdied the 17th and 18th holes Thursday to add some drama to the final holes, but Hahn held strong, despite saying she didn’t play her “A” game.
“Honestly, I didn’t play my best,” Hahn said. “It was a pretty scorable course, but I left a lot of shots out there. I missed three one-footers.”
Hahn said playing with Morris and fellow GlenOak golfer Madison Reemsnyder in the final trio was a joy.
“It felt like a practice round out there,” Hahn said.
Another player happy to see Hahn win was her future roommate on the University of Akron women’s golf team: Hudson native Jenn David.
“Obviously, I wanted to win,” David. “I had a lot of friends and family rooting for me. This is my home course, so I wanted it. If Jess is going to take home the win, I’m good with that.”
David lamented the fact a round of 78 Tuesday probably cost her a chance to win the title, but she shot rounds of 72 Wednesday and Thursday to finish at 6-over 222, which tied her for fifth place with Reemsnyder. It was David’s second straight top-10 finish at the Junior.
“Today, I was hitting the ball solid,” David said. “I had a wedge into most of the greens, which was good.”
Hudson native Meaghan Grant finished in 41st place in the girls field with a 41-over-par score of 257 (88-86-83).
Reed gets through crowed field to win boys’ title
While Reed — a rising junior from Olentangy Berlin High School — was in the final trio along with Canton’s Gunnar McCollins and Michael Rosenbloom of Wellesley, Mass., 10 golfers were within three strokes of the lead Thursday heading into the final round.
On a tough day for the boys field, Reed said he wanted to stay true to himself.
“I feel really good,” Reed said. “I was sticking to my game plan today: Hitting fairways and hitting greens. I actually did not know what I needed to do down the stretch. I was just trying to play my game.”
Reed noted the course was playing a bit tougher Thursday than the first two days. After dropping bogeys on the fifth, seventh and eighth holes, Reed came back with birdies on the ninth and 10th holes. Other than a bogey on the par-4 14th hole, Reed was a par machine in the back nine to claim the title.
He noted the win was huge confidence booster for him, as it was his first victory at the Junior level.
“It’s a beautiful golf course,” Reed said. “Last year, I was supposed to play here, but I broke my hand. I’m really happy to be able to play here.”
Behind Reed, there was a three-way tie for second place at 5-over par 221 with Jairon Liu of Bradenton, Fla. (78-72-71), Eric Cherubini of Centerville (73-73-75) and Joseph Kalaskey of South Charleston, W. Va. (73-74-74).
Perhaps the most famous name on the course was John Daly II, son of PGA legend John Daly, who himself played at the Hudson Junior in his youth. Daly II finished tied for 22nd place with a 13-over-par score of 229.
Among the local boys, a pair of Stow-Munroe Falls golfers led the charge, as recent Stow graduate Kyle Buzaki (82-78-80) and rising junior Max Crookston (78-81-89) each finished tied for 66th place with 22-over-par 238.
“It seems I always kind of struggle here,” Buzaki said. “This year, my whole game was a bit rusty because I went to the US Open last week, so I was on vacation. I’ve been telling [my teammates] to come here for years. I’m glad they did.”
“It was alright,” Crookston said. “I started to putt better today. Kyle has been a big inspiration for me.”
The Bulldogs also had Brandon Beck (268, 89-86-93), Daniel Page (276, 91-94-91) compete at the Junior.
Hudson native Ben Basta also finished with a 238 (80-78-80).
“There was potential to play a great round, but not of lot of putts fell,” Basta said. “I think I’m playing OK; I’m not happy with the way I’m scoring.”
Hudson also had Ryan Pamer (239, 88-75-76), Erik Block (243, 83-78-82), Clark Nemer (244, 85-79-80) and Burke Villenauve (254, 87-81-86) compete.
Rising Walsh Jesuit senior and Twinsburg native Colton Levey was sour on his performance at the Junior. He tied for 78th place with 25-over-par 241 (75-84-82).
“Actually, this whole summer, I’ve been playing badly,” Levey said. “Just mentally not there. I think the best way to start getting better is to make putts.”
After two decent rounds to start the tournament, Tallmadge rising junior Darin Hudak was “very disappointed” with his performance Thursday. After rounds of 75 Tuesday and 78 Wednesday, a round of 86 Thursday sent Hudak down to at 241.
“I wasn’t making any shots today,” Hudak said. “I was making stupid mistakes. My game just wasn’t there today.”