Emerging from the crowd
For Tom Johnson, call it a bit of beginner’s luck.
For Sue Geyer, call it a bit of redemption.
At the end of the 47th annual City Open at Alpena Golf Club on Sunday, both of them could call themselves 2013 City Open champions.
Playing in his first-ever City Open, Johnson won a highly contested men’s tournament, finishing with a 149, two strokes better than Trent Donakowski and Phil Straley.
“I had no idea that I possibly win this and I’m tickled to death that I did. This is a perfect end to this weekend,” Johnson said. “It couldn’t have pleased me more to win this tournament. I love Alpena, I love this tournament and I’m glad I got to win.”
After winning her fifth title last year by double digits, Geyer won handily again for her sixth women’s Open title, finishing with a two-day score of 175- 15 strokes better than second-place Jan Kaiser’s 190.
It feels good. It was anybody’s tournament this weekend, so I had to really fight today to come back and play well,” Geyer said. “My motivation is just to do well for myself, but I like to challenge and see what’s the lowest score I can get and how well I can play.”
Donakowski held the lead entering the final round after shooting a 73 on Saturday. With a quartet of golfers within five shots of him, it was Johnson who emerged the victor after trailing by three shots as he teed off to begin his final round. He stormed into the lead with a 33 on the front nine and stayed in contention with a key birdie on No. 17 despite two bogeys on the back nine.
“I shot 33 on the front side. As I stood on 10, my fellow competitor said that the Alpena Open begins the (on) the back nine on Sunday, which they always say about The Masters,” Johnson said. “I made a key birdie on 17 which is probably the hardest hole on the golf course. I thought to myself, ‘It’s mine to win or its mine to lose right here.'”
Donakowski shot a 78 in his final round and finished at 151. Straley, a seven-time men’s Open champion, who was four shots off the lead after Saturday, tied with Donakowski after a final round 74.
“Trent’s a great player and of course Phil’s been around forever. He’s won a lot of golf tournaments and he’s a great player. I consider myself lucky,” Johnson said of his competitors.
Todd Skiba, the 2011 men’s Open champion, held the lead briefly on Sunday before the final pairings came in and finished fifth at 153. Tom Lahner, who started Sunday’s round one shot off the lead, shot a 78 and finished fourth at 152.
Geyer admitted she struggled on the first day of tournament play, but still managed to finish with a 91 which was good enough to hold a one-shot lead over Gisela Schreier.
Once play started on Sunday however, Geyer cruised to her sixth Open title with ease. She shot a 42 on the front nine, building a sizable lead over Schreier who finished the day with a 99 and took third place with a 191.
Geyer’s 84 was the lowest posted in the championship flight on Sunday and the only sub-90 score.
“I didn’t play well yesterday, so that was a little embarrassing, but I came back today and played more of my game, played better,” Geyer said.
Geyer also won the women’s Open title in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012, but said her newest Open title came as a result of playing her game and trying to put together the best round possible.
“That’s the finicky nature of golf. Some days you can come out and play well and the next day you can come back and not play well. It was a really tough go yesterday, but I came back and made some pars and put a birdie or two on the card.”
Sandy Malaski won the women’s first flight with a 139, just four strokes ahead of Donice ZiBerna who shot a 143.
Kelly Poirier won the women’s second flight with a 141, beating Debbie Adams who finished with a 154.
Tom Fredlund won the men’s first flight with a score of 138. Bill Yahne took second at 141 and Jack Behl was third at 143.
Jay Hammond won the men’s second flight with a two-day score of 138. Dick Silver was second at 144 and Darrell Liske was third at 147.
Darrel Milligan won the men’s third flight with a two-day score of 138. Duane Brandel took second at 146.
Bill McConnell won the men’s fourth flight with a 136. Don Szymanski was second with a 138 and Joel Osborne was third at 140.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.