Cravener, Drevna, Karzmer win Morgan Stanley skills event

By Greg Gulas

The Greatest Golfer

CANFIELD – Evan Cravener ripped a 319-yard drive on his first finals shootout attempt, the only shot of his three to end up on the grid, lifting him to the 9th annual Morgan Stanley-Simon Roofing Greatest Long Drive Shootout championship Wednesday at Tippecanoe Country Club.

Former Canfield High and YSU links standout Felicia Drevna authored a 232-yard effort to win her fifth Ladies Long Drive crown, while Jonah Karzmer, a two-time Greatest Golfer champion, topped Jackie Adler and Joey Cilone to win the fourth annual Par-3 shootout competition.

A resident of Beaver, Pennsylvania who calls Moon Golf Club his home course, Cravener’s 317-yard effort in the preliminary round was good enough to join 2020 long drive titlist Ken Keller and current YSU standout Bryan Kordupel in the finals.

Keller’s 326-yard drive in the prelims turned out being the top drive of the day while Kordupel qualified by nailing a 322-yard drive on his opening attempt.

Kordupel also added a 317-yard effort with the three competitors the only finalists in the 13-player field with two, 300+ yard drives.

Crevener was playing in his first long drive event and will also take part in his second Greatest Golfer championship event, which tees-off on Friday.

“It feels great to win the championship on my first attempt,” Crevener said.  “The key was connecting and finding the grid.  I went to California University of Pennsylvania and my roommate was Payton Snyder, whose family owned Diamondback Golf Course.  I was aware of the many excellent golfers like Brandon Pluchinsky. Bryan Kordupel and Ken Keller, and Payton always told me how special the Greatest Golfer event was, so I got a taste of the competition last year, which was my first event.

“I missed the cut by just five strokes to advance to Sunday, so I am hoping my fortunes continue this weekend and I can quality for the finals this year.”

Drevna’s drive was 14 yards better than 2022 Canfield High graduate and runner-up Jackie Kinnick (218 yards) while past Greatest Golfer champion, Katie Rogner, finished third with a 199-yard effort.

Drevna is no stranger to the course or competition, proudly calling Tippecanoe her home course.

“I love this tournament and it means a lot to win the long drive event because this is my home course,” Drevna stated.  “Michael Spiech, Tippecanoe golf professional, coached me throughout my collegiate career and currently teaches my daughter, Camilla. He is a wonderful instructor, knows exactly what to look for, then helps correct any flaw I might have and tweak my game.  I really want to give thanks to my 96-year-old Nana, who has been through everything with me during my golf career and never misses an event.  She’s just so special to me.”

In the Par-3 shootout, 16 players had four attempts to earn points.

Karzmer and Adler each earned 11 points.

Cilone was the only golfer in the group with two four-point awards, but finished third with 10 points.

Karzmer, who won the 2013 and 2015 Greatest Golfer events, was victorious by adding four more points in the two-shot playoff, outdueling both Adler and Cilone, who fell a point shy on their final two shots.

Karzmer was pleased with his effort ahead of this weekend’s 54-hole event.

“This event is much more relaxed and a great kickoff to a fun week,” Karzmer added.  “In my eyes, the Greatest Golfer has exceeded everyone’s expectations and I would go so far as to call it the city championship. Everyone has a home course, but each participant talks about this week.  They all look forward to a fun week of competition.”

Adler, who was third overall in the Jr. Greatest in 2019, is a Girard resident and junior member of the Otterbein University golf team, helping the Cardinals to the NCAA Division III Golf Championships this past spring in Houston, Texas, finishing 19th overall.

“The key for me was to concentrate, have a smooth swing and just do my very best,” Adler noted.

Spiech, who is currently in his 19th year as Tippecanoe golf pro, still marvels at the effort put forth by the golfers in both the long drive and Par-3 shootout.

“This event attracts a lot of our members and it is great seeing these kids grow up right before your eyes,” he said.  “We have several club members participating, some former employees taking part, and it’s just a wonderful event.”