A buddy said play, and now she’s a Greatest finalist

By Greg Gulas The Greatest Golfer WARREN – Canfield’s Cynthia Stackhouse admits that her good friend, Janet Porter, had to talk her into playing in this year’s Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer tournament. After two rounds of play, she’s glad that her buddy was such a good salesperson. After crafting a net 64 Saturday at Avalon Lakes Golf Course, Stackouse (75-64, 139) won the two-day Elias CPA Group Ladies net qualifier to advance to Sunday’s 11th annual Farmer’s National Bank Greatest Golfer tournament at the Lake Club. Heading into her first-ever Greatest event, she felt as though the field was slightly better than her. “Janet talked me into playing this year, but I felt like this was out of my league,” Stackhouse said. “Like Janet, I’ve always loved playing this course and while the greens were a little beat up, it was in great overall shape. “The key for me was that it all came together. I missed a few wedge shots and while chipping is my strong suit, it wasn’t today. I haven’t played The Lake Club this year, which isn’t typical for me. So I’ll do my best and hope for a lot of luck.” Brandon Pluchinsky (70-72) and Griffin Todd (70-72) each started the day two strokes behind Dean Austalosh and Scott Porter, playing par both days for a 142 to win the McCammon-Hunt Insurance Agency, Inc. men’s open division qualifier. Pluchinsky, who is playing in his fifth Greatest event, is the defending open champion and three-time titlist – he also won back-to-back crowns in 2016 and 2017 – looking to win consecutive crowns for the second time. “The biggest difference today compared to yesterday was the wind,” Pluchinsky stated. “It’s not that I played any different. But yesterday at Mill Creek Golf Course, it was calm and today at Tippecanoe Country Club, it was swirling, which made it difficult to hit it close. “The course was in very good shape, conditions difficult, but fair. In the finals, I’ll just play it hole by hole and not get too high or low. I cannot press because everyone is going to make a mistake or two. Hey, it’s the Lake Club so I’ll just have to minimize those mistakes. In fact, bogeys aren’t too bad in certain situations when you are playing there.” Todd, who is playing in his sixth event and won the Youngstown Country Club championship last weekend, embraces the opportunity to go after a second title in two weeks. “Last weekend, I won my first individual championship, so it’s nice to have an opportunity and chance to make it two in as many weekends,” Todd added. “Yesterday, Mill Creek was short and narrow, so I was hitting irons off the tee and playing more position golf. Tippecanoe CC was a lot longer and windy, so I wanted to take advantage of my length and let my driver do the work.” Chuck Montgomery (75-82), who is the defending champion and was runner-up in 2018, shot 157 and was seven strokes better than Donald Sicafuse (87-77) and Raymond Vershum (80-84) in Cole Valley Cadillac Legends 8+ qualifying action. “The greens and placements were tough today,” noted Montgomery, a former Hubbard High School director of athletics. “The course [Avalon Lakes] was in great shape but the greens faster than Mill Creek yesterday, so you had to adjust.” Geno Bellato carded 66 Saturday for a 138 overall and is the top qualifier in the PARC Appliance Repair Seniors 60-plus open division, while Bob Leonard, who is looking for his sixth title, finished atop the New York Life Insurance Legends 70-plus open division, carding 75 for a 146 total, eight strokes ahead of runner-up Tim Porter (75-79). “I had a terrible front nine with a double and triple but played par on the back nine,” said Porter, who is chasing Leonard. “I just lost it on those two front holes. The Lake Club gets you every year. It’s a tough golf course. But we’re all looking forward to playing the course.” In Stifel Nicolaus men’s 3-6 action, Jimmy Linert (74-76) and Jordan Rogers (77-73) finished tied for the lead with a two-day, 150 total while atop the Exodus Industrial men’s 7-9 division, Jack Ferreri (77-77) posted a 154 to finish a stroke ahead of Daniel Martin (78-77). Matt DiLoretto (82-76) fashioned a 158 and qualified a stroke ahead of Andrew Zabel ((79-80) in the Jim and Ellen Tressel Men’s 10-12 division, while Phil Eubank (77-85) authored a 162, a stroke ahead of Jay Moore (77-86) to top qualifiers in the 3-Sons Insurance Agency, Inc. men’s 13+ division. John Beard (72-77) and Dave Tabak (72-77) remained neck-and-neck as they tied for a second straight day with identical 149 scores through 36-holes to win the two-day BG Trucking Seniors 7-12 division qualifier while former Poland High School head football coach, Reid Lamport (86-82), fashioned a 168 and was four strokes ahead of William Taneri (85-87) to top qualifiers in the Ed and Kim Nappi Seniors 13+ division. The 54-hole Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer concludes today with final round action set for the Lake Club in Poland.