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Vaughn Snyder uses strong final round back nine to win Northeast Ohio Amateur

Vaughn Snyder uses strong final round back nine to win Northeast Ohio Amateur

Vaughn Snyder (Northern Ohio Golf Association Photo)
Vaughn Snyder (Northern Ohio Golf Association Photo)

The 2024 Northeast Ohio Amateur concluded on a chilly and windy summer day at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna, Ohio. Vaughn Snyder, a Mid-Am from Canton,
Ohio won both the Championship and Mid-Am Divisions in the 94th edition of the event.

Snyder shot rounds of 67-70-65 to finish at 8-under, one shot clear of Walsh University Alum Kyle Buzaki, a resident of nearby Stow, Ohio. Snyder and Buzaki were the only players in the field to post three rounds of par or better. Snyder and Buzaki both finished in a tie for fourth in last year’s tournament.

This year, they set their sights on the championship. Buzaki took the first-round lead with a 5-under 65, followed by an even-par 70 on Sunday and a 2-under-par 68 in Monday’s final round.

Indiana University sophomore Nick Piesen of Strongsville, Ohio, was the only other player under par for the tournament, posting rounds of 72-66-71 to finish at one-under-par.  The final round conditions were more reminiscent of a blustery October afternoon than a summer day in June.

Snyder remarked, “I went to the car at the turn and got another jacket and some mittens. Welcome to Ohio in June.”

Monday’s final round was a two-man shootout from the first tee. Buzaki entered the final round at 5-under for the tournament, two shots clear of Snyder. After both players bogeyed the first hole, Snyder and Buzaki separated from the field.

“There wasn’t really a whole lot going on in the first 8 holes or so. Kyle (Buzaki) made that birdie putt on No. 9, and I said I needed to start making some birdies.”

The birdies came in quick succession. Snyder capitalized on great approach shots on holes No. 9, 11, 12, and 13 to take a two-shot lead with five holes left to play.

“I was really just trying to get the ball in the fairway because the wind was blowing so hard,” Snyder said. “It’s a lot easier to control your shot and distances from the fairway. I had some good yardages and was able to attack some flags that weren’t that accessible, but they were perfect stock shots, so it worked out for me – I was able to make the putts.”

Buzaki made just two bogeys on the day but was outpaced by Snyder’s barrage of birdies. After a birdie on the par-5 17th from Buzaki, Snyder’s lead was just one stroke. A pair of two-putt pars on the last crowned Snyder the 94th Northeast Amateur champion.

Snyder, who won the 2008 Ohio Amateur and qualified for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, played his college golf at the University of Akron before transferring to the Ohio State University.

In addition to taking the Championship Division, Snyder also won the Mid-Am Division by 12 strokes. Fairlawn native Howard Clendenin fired steady rounds of 71-72-71 to finish in solo second place. In the Senior Division, Jackson resident Kurt Peterson fired a final round 65 to win by five strokes, posting rounds of 69-77-65.

Peterson, a member of the Stark County Amateur Golf Hall of Fame, also won the 2022 NEOA Senior Division.

“I hit it well all day,” said Peterson. “I had a lot of opportunities on the front. I made a 25-footer on 2 and then made one from off the green on 4. Hit it close on 9, and then again a few times on the back nine – I made all of those. 13, 15, and 16 were all close. Just one bogey on 17, but that hole got me all week.”

In the 4th installment of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Amateur, Ashland University’s Klaira Paramore improved each day, shooting rounds of 80-78-75 to win the Championship Division. University Heights native Fiona Connor fired consistent rounds of 83-83-83 to win the Senior Women’s Division.

View results for Northeast Ohio Amateur

ABOUT THE Northeast Ohio Amateur

54-hole stroke play championship with a cut after 36
holes. Historically played on three different courses
over
three days, beginning in 2017 the Northeast Ohio
Amateur revamped the format to be played at just
one with and on three consecutive days (Sat-Mon).
Championship and Senior divisions.

View Complete Tournament Information

Anna Harden

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