MEDINA TWP. — Pete Skirpstas pocketed a nice chunk of change Wednesday at the 97th Ohio Open Championship.
The 2006 Medina High graduate closed with a 5-under-par 67 at Weymouth Country Club, leaving him in a tie for seventh place at 8-under 208 and netting him $1,350 for the 54-hole event.
“Not bad for three OK days of playing, eh?” Skirpstas said.
Six shots off the pace after two rounds, Zanesville’s Chase Wilson closed with a 7-under 65 to finish at a tournament-best 14-under 202, two shots ahead of Strongsville’s Jake Scott and Hartville’s Jake McBride.
McBride was 13 under after rounds of 64 and 67 and owned a four-shot lead heading into the final 18 holes, but managed only a 1-over 73. Scott, 7 under to start the day after rounds of 70 and 67, shot another 67 to match McBride at 12-under 204.
Wilson, who closed with three birdies to break what had been a three-way tie, pocketed $9,000 for the victory, while McBride and Scott earned $4,500 apiece. The entry fee was $375 for pro players.
“I’m speechless,” said Wilson, who had an eagle on the front nine Wednesday and aced the 13th hole Monday at Fox Meadow Country Club. “This is the tournament that I have wanted for a long time.”
Skirpstas, who won the 2016 Toledo Open and earned another pro victory this year on the Coastal Players Tour, opened with an even-par 72 Monday at Weymouth, but came back with a 3-under 69 Tuesday at Fox Meadow.
With the field cut from 198 to 58 after the second round, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder saved his best for last, putting seven birdies between bogeys on the first and last holes.
“I’m not disappointed because every day I got better,” Skirpstas said. “I’m happy with the way I held my composure and kept grinding. Every shot, I tried my hardest. That’s all you can ask.”
The 29-year-old won’t have any time to rest on his laurels, as he will play in the Tigertown Open today and Friday at The Elms Country Club in Massillon. That will be followed by the Carolinas Open in less than two weeks.
Skirpstas, who hopes to earn his PGA card in the next year or two, traveled to South Carolina last week to work with a swing expert, the goal being to sacrifice a bit of length off the tee — from 330 yards with his driver to 315 — and improve accuracy.
Some 2,000 practice swings later, he debuted the new swing Monday when the Ohio Open began. The results were great, as only a few errant approach shots and chips, plus a few putts that lipped out, prevented him from challenging for the title.
“I had at least a dozen shots I’d like to have over, but what are you going to do?” Skirpstas said. “You can’t hit every shot perfectly. That’s golf. That’s why we keep coming back.”