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Published: Monday, 7/24/2006

Kornowa pulls Sunday surprise

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Kevin Kornowa tries to direct this putt a bit to the left yesterday at Inverness Club in the final round of the Toledo District Golf Association Stroke Play Championship. Kornowa managed three birdies in his round of 71 to win the event for the fourth time, including last year. Kevin Kornowa tries to direct this putt a bit to the left yesterday at Inverness Club in the final round of the Toledo District Golf Association Stroke Play Championship. Kornowa managed three birdies in his round of 71 to win the event for the fourth time, including last year.
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The plan had plenty of potential. Michael Hyland was going to sink his final putt yesterday, grab his infant daughter, and the two would celebrate on the 18th green at Inverness Club. Hyland even coordinated his outfit for the occasion - a pink polo shirt to match the one worn by 3-month-old Mackenzie.

Kevin Kornowa, though, had plans of his own. Trailing Hyland by eight strokes entering yesterday's final round, Kornowa shot a 1-under par 70, edging Hyland by a stroke to win his second consecutive Toledo District Golf Association Stroke Play Championship.

Kornowa, now a four-time champion, had three birdies in the final round compared to Hyland's eight bogeys and one double-bogey for a 79.

Kornowa, a member at Highland Meadows, finished with a four-round score of 295. Hyland, on his home course, shot a 296.

"Coming back from eight back, it was a little shocking I guess," Kornowa said.

Not nearly as shocking as it was for Hyland, who led the field by five strokes entering yesterday's round. He presumed his main competition would come from Peter Nessif and Steve Mitchell, the other players in the final group.

But moments before he teed off on No. 18, Hyland was told that Kornowa, the district's reigning player of the year, had taken the lead. Hyland needed a birdie, and his birdie putt stopped inches short.

"Great timing," Hyland said, with more than a touch of sarcasm, referring to when he learned of Kornowa's round. "Nobody told me what he was shooting. I had no clue. I thought I was playing against the two guys I was playing with."

Kornowa, though, was keeping close tabs on Hyland. He heard Hyland was 6 over at the turn. And knew when Hyland double-bogeyed the par-4 16th.

Maybe it reminded him of when he won the 2002 Ohio Amateur in Sylvania despite trailing by seven strokes after the front nine.

Kornowa struggled in Saturday's third round, following scores of 73 and 74 with a 78. The odds of him repeating as champion weren't very promising on Saturday night.

"I didn't want to be eight shots back coming into [the final round] because obviously that's a large margin, but I've done it before," said Kornowa, who helped the University of Toledo win its first-ever Mid-American Conference title just two months before he won the Ohio Amateur. "I didn't play much different, I just got more out of my round today than I did the past two or three [days]."

Alan Fadel (Inverness) finished third at 298, and Nessif (Inverness) was two strokes back in fourth. Mitchell (Inverness) tied Sylvania Country Club's Jeff Blank for fifth with 301.

Mitchell and Nessif were tied for second entering the round, five strokes behind Hyland. But the entire group struggled yesterday, combining for just three birdies - the total Kornowa had by himself.

"I couldn't hit my driver anywhere on the golf course," Hyland said.

"That's what really hurt me. Here you can't miss the greens."

Fred Grimm won the two-round Senior Stroke Play Championship with a score of 150, one better than Fadel and Judd Silverman.



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