Braydich, Schmidt, Frank win Morgan Stanley Greatest skills event

By Greg Gulas moc.1695284261ydniv1695284261@stro1695284261ps1695284261 CANFIELD – Nick Braydich authored a 306-yard drive on his first shootout attempt, the only shot that ended up placing on the grid, lifting him to win the 8th annual Morgan Stanley Greatest Long Drive Shootout championship Wednesday at Tippecanoe Country Club. Canfield’s Tracie Schmidt, a former Kent State University softball standout who finished fourth a year ago, won the Ladies Long Drive crown with a 218-yard effort. Boardman’s Garrett Frank easily outdistanced Dave Kilgore, 9-2 to capture the third annual Par-3 shootout competition under the lights. This year’s long drive shootout drew 14 participants with Griffin Todd’s 336-yard drive, Ryan Monahan’s 326-yard effort and Braydich’s 322-yard drive leading the pack in the preliminary round. For Braydich, it was his second title in three years, having walked off with top honors in 2019 as well. “After rain halted play for about 45 minutes, I knew that the conditions would be a little different,” Braydich said.  “African Grant was third with a 318-yard drive so I knew that I had to beat that number if I wanted to advance to the shootout.  I hit it 322-yards on my fourth drive so needless to say I was pleased with that effort. “In the shootout, my goal was to try to put one in play and keep it on the grid.  I already knew what Ryan did and wanted to give Griffin something to think about.” In addition to Grant’s 318-yard drive, other 300-plus yard efforts that fell short of the shootout were posted by Anthony Garono (309-yards), defending champion Ken Keller (305-yards) and Giovanni Naples (303-yards). Schmidt captured her first Ladies Long Drive championship by outdistancing former multiple Long Drive champion Felicia Ciotola Drevna, 218-209. “This was only the second time that I have played this event.  I finished fourth overall a year ago so I wanted to improve on my numbers this time around,” Schmidt added.  “My goal was to keep it in the fairway, something that I didn’t do last year. “I had a lot of fun, enjoyed the competition and will definitely come back next August to defend my title.” Frank, a 1990 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School, was a member of the University of Akron golf team for three years and played professionally from 1999-2016. He regained his amateur status in 2018 and has played in the Greatest Golfer since 2019. “It takes two years with no acts as a professional and with no compensation to regain your amateur ranking.  For me, tonight was an absolute blast,” Frank stated.  “It’s nice when people are watching because it puts pressure on you to do well.  This was a lot of fun.” A total of 13 golfers participated in the Par-3 Shootout with Frank’s eight points in the opening round two points better than the six points earned by Eddie Maughan, Jonah Karzmer, Joey Cilone and Dave Kilgore. Kilgore won the four-way play-off and the right to meet Frank in the shootout with the latter posting two, four-point shots and a one-point effort for nine points, easily outdistancing the former’s two, one-point efforts of his three allotted shots. Michael Spiech, Tippecanoe golf pro who is currently in his 18th year at the club, was pleased with the effort of the golfers in each division. “It was an exciting competition once again,” Spiech noted.  “The weather has a way of dampening things, but we were able to get everything in.  Also, it was great to see some of our members compete and do well and fun to see some lifelong friends who continue to come out and take part in this wonderful event.”