Hanzel is the second-ranked senior amateur in the world. He is one great player, as was proven Monday morning as he worked his way around Plum Brook Country Club in a record opening round of 66 strokes.
Hanzel had not walked onto the Galloway Rd. course until Sunday afternoon when he played in the Best Ball event.
“Typical old-style course you have to love to be on,” the 62-year-old Savannah, Ga. resident said. “Courses like this play to my strength, because I generally hit the ball fairly straight.
“I didn’t get much out of the front side this morning,” Hanzel added. “A scruffy first hole where I managed to get up and down for par and then a lot of pars with the exception of a bird on the par 5 (No. 3). I made that one from three feet.”
Hanzel then got it going on the back. After a par on 10, he birdied 11 from four feet, and No. 12 from 10 feet. He had a par finish on the next two holes, then birdied 15 from 15 feet and 16 from 10 feet.
“Then I par the last two, both par 5’s which should be my strength,” he said. “Hit a four-iron second shot on 18 (515-yard hole) and then three-putted. You just about have to stay below the pin on that hole.”
Hanzel, a native of the Cleveland area, earned his doctorate in Pulmonary Medicine from Case Western Reserve University — then completed his residency at the Cleveland Clinic. He moved to Savannah 30 years ago, opened his practice there and still is in his office about 10 days per month.
Hanzel has a three-stroke lead over defending champion Mike Kelley, of Westerville, and Skip Snow, of Dayton. Fremont’s Buck Bauman, with ties to Norwalk, came in at even-par 71.
The best numbers turned in by the local players were those of Norwalk’s Rod Bordman, a 74, Willard’s Roger Tolley, a 78, Norwalk’s Chris Bleile (80) and Alberto Yoguez (86).
On the net board, 59-year-old Milan resident Harry Perdue leads the field. Overall second last year on this board, he shot an actual 73 for a net 61. Huron’s Mike Swain and Vermilion’s Chris Price figured 64s.
Bordman, who had to survive a cloud-burst while standing on No. 18 tee, had it to as much as 2-under early in the round after birdies on 1 and 3. He could not keep it going, however, making double on 7 after a bogeys on 4 and another on 9 to make the turn at 2-over 37. He played the back in 1-over after two bogeys and one birdie (from14-feet on 13).
Bleile carried a balky driver all day. He hit one fairway on the front and two on the back. That is a license for disaster but as he put it, “perhaps put me in good spot for Tuesday’s prize as the Most Improved Player over the two days.”
Bleile triple-bogeyed the third hole and didn’t make a birdie until No. 17.
Yoguez now knows that to finish Plum Brook with a respectable score: one has to keep the ball in the fairway.
“And I was fortunate to be paired with a club member who helped guide me around,” the retired east coast restaurant owner said.
Boling, a past champion at Plum Brook, still is amazed how the course can humble a player if every part of his game is not in order.
“Tee to green, I was just fine,” the 62-year-old jewelry store owned said. “Putting though was not good. Made nothing over four feet. My only claim to fame today was I beat Chris Bleile.”
Former Norwalk auto dealership owner, Buck Bauman, Fremont, triple bogeyed the short par 3, 16th hole. He turned in a fine round into a so-so round into one of even-par 71.
“Identical to what I did at Kirtland last week in the U.S. Amateur qualifier,” the owner of seven dealerships said. “Tripled a hole over there in the front and then shot 33 on the back in an effort to make one of three qualifying spots (51 player field). Missed getting out by one stroke.”
Baumann won the PBCC event in 2014 by four shots and was in a playoff for the top spot in 2016.
Other scores from area players included Bellevue’s Randy Rankin (82) and Brian Schubert 78; Sandusky’s Bill Monaghan 87 and Jan Sadoski 81; and Huron’s Michael Swain 92.