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Swinson, Nunneley take top honors in City Open

News Photo by James Andersen Courtney Nunneley, left, and Nathan Swinson are pictured with their trophies after both of them won their respective championship flights on Sunday during the final round of the 53rd annual City Open at River’s Edge Golf Club. Swinson earned his first City Open title after two years of runner-up finishes and Nunneley claimed her fourth consecutive women’s championship.

Despite rainy conditions and tough competition, Nathan Swinson and Courtney Nunneley did what they needed to do to rise to the top.

The two of them took top honors at the conclusion of the 53rd annual City Open on Sunday, playing through rainy conditions during the final round at River’s Edge Golf Club.

The win gives Nunneley her fourth consecutive City Open title and is the first for Swinson.

Swinson fired a second-round 69 on Sunday–the lowest round in the men’s championship flight all weekend–to separate himself from a crowded and competitive field.

He shot a 73 on Saturday and finished the weekend with a score of 142, besting Nick Mainville, Spenser Fisher and Erik Peterson, who all tied for second at 146 and five-time champion Tom Lahner, who shot a 148.

News Photo by James Andersen Flight winners from the 2020 City Open are pictured from left to right: Dan LaFleche (men’s second flight), Steve Westrope (men’s senior flight), Brynna Smith (women’s low net), Courtney Nunneley (women’s champion), Nathan Swinson (men’s champion), Dick Boyce (men’s senior low net) and Tom Bennett (men’s first flight).

“It’s really good. The last couple years I just couldn’t piece together two rounds; I’d have one good one and one bad one,” Swinson said. “This year, I was able to keep it going for two days.”

Since she began playing the City Open in 2017, Nunneley has yet to lose in the women’s championship flight.

She won with a low gross score of 169 and Brynna Smith was the low net winner at 142.

With each City Open she plays in and wins, Nunneley continues to make history.

She won her first City Open at 17 and was one of the youngest tournament winners in history.

Last year, she became the only women’s champion to win three consecutive City Opens.

With her victory this year, Nunneley is tied for second all-time in women’s City Open wins with Gisela Schreier and Sue Peterson-Tuohy and trails only Sue Geyer, who has seven titles.

“It feels really good. I was kind of just looking to go out there and play my game,” Nunneley said of her latest win. “I put the pressure on myself moreso than anything else. I’ve got a really big support group and they all told me just to go out and play your own game.”

Swinson has been close to hoisting the men’s City Open trophy before. In each of the last two years, he’s finished second to Lahner, but has had to watch Lahner pull away from the pack on Sunday.

This time the result was different. Swinson began Sunday two strokes behind Lahner and Mainville, who held the lead at 71 and John Hoos, who held second place with a 72 after Saturday’s opening round at Alpena Golf Club.

After an up-and-down start on the front nine, Swinson made his move.

In spite of periods of steady rain, Swinson made several birdies down the stretch and also chipped in on No. 12. It proved to be enough of a cushion after Mainville shot a second-round 75, Fisher shot a 71 and Peterson, a former City Open winner, shot a 72.

“I started rolling the ball really good on (No. 8) and made three birdies in a row–eight, nine, 10–that sort of kickstarted it,” Swinson said. “After that, I chipped in on 12, which was a great bonus and came in with a 33 on the back.”

While the weekend saw many of the usual contenders vying at the top of the leaderboard, the scores proved to be lower than the previous few years. Jack Schmanski, who shot a 150 for the weekend, was the clubhouse leader before the final few groups came in and he eventually finished sixth as five golfers bested that score.

“It was a good year. I was surprised to see this many guys in the championship flight, but I’m happy there was,” Swinson said.

Nunneley has been the golfer to beat in the women’s championship flight the last several years, but she got a little bit of an unexpected challenge over the weekend from Emma Gentry, who finished six strokes behind her.

Nunneley knows what it takes to win the tournament, but said she altered her approach this year and played smart, accounting for conditions and the competition. When the rain came on Sunday, she pulled out her rain gear and stayed calm, drawing on her experience in past tournaments.

She finished Saturday with a six-stroke lead over Gentry in gross score.

“I actually wanted to go out and be a little more aggressive this year. In the past, I’ve been kind of conservative, but then Emma Gentry came to play,” Nunneley said. “She’s a really good golfer. She hits the ball so far and so I had to play a little bit smarter golf to be able to get that fourth win.”

Amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s tournament had a little bit of a different feel. River’s Edge has been open since May and Alpena Golf Club has been open since April, but social distancing guidelines and mask requirements have necessitated different rules on the courses and golfers have transitioned over the last few months from walking play only to gradual–and closely monitored–cart use. Golfers have been asked to wear masks in the clubhouse and practice social distancing while playing.

Still, as River’s Edge PGA Pro Jerry McConnell noted after play had ended on Sunday, the the tournament started in 1968 while the United States was going through tough times, and continues to endure today.

“Fifty three years is a long time. Not many tournaments last that long and we will get through this,” McConnell said.

Other winners for the weekend included: Tom Bennett in the men’s first flight (145), Dan LaFleche in the men’s second flight (143), Steve Westrope in the men’s senior flight (145).

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City Open Results

Men’s Championship Flight

Nathan Swinson 73-69-142

Nick Mainville 71-75-146

Spenser Fisher 75-71-146

Erik Peterson 74-72-146

Tom Lahner 71-77-148

Jack Schmanski 78-72-150

John Hoos 72-79-151

Bob Centala 74-79-153

Todd Skiba 75-80-155

Trevor Denstaedt 76-79-155

Ian Stevens 77-81-158

Derek Seguin 77-82-159

Fletcher Bolda 76-83-159

Albert Skiba 82-77-159

Tony Crabtree 77-82-159

Dave Karschnick Jr 84-76-160

Kyle Wagner 77-87-164

Evan LeTourneau 77-87-164

Ryan French 80-86-166

Tim Moran 84-82-166

Trent Mainville 88-79-167

Zach Ross 86-84-170

Dan Budman 79-91-170

Thompson Hein 89-83-172

Tate Skiba 86-91-177

Josh Scull 83-95-178

Justin Page 93-88-181

Dave Karschnick III 90-99-189

Ryan Dietheim 99-N/A-WD

Women’s Championship Flight

Courtney Nunneley (low gross winner) 84-85-169

Brynna Smith (low net winner) 63-79-142

Emma Gentry 90-85-175

Anna Lewis 80-89-169

Sandy Malaski 73-71-144

Barb Derda 74-78-152

Men’s Second Flight

Dan LaFleche 69-74-143

Tom Ross 69-74-143

Greg Cadarette 71-76-147

Ryan Gallagher 72-78-150

Aaron Hamp 81-78-159

Tim Derocher 79-85-164

Todd Kasubowski 86-80-166

Mike Klimek 75-99-174

Men’s First Flight

Tom Bennett 76-69-145

Jim Micks 74-76-150

Tim Sayre 75-78-153

Adam Hainstock 73-82-155

Dave Kneeshaw 79-78-157

Ken Geyer 80-78-158

Dave Talbot 80-82-162

Cory Faylor 79-96-175

Men’s Senior Flight

Steve Westrope 76-69-145

Dick Boyce (Low Gross winner) 73-66-159

Gary VanDeven 72-75-149

Tom Lamp 70-82-152

Howard Crabtree 76-77-153

Gary Rasche 79-75-154

Kim Crevier 74-80-154

Jim Olesen 79-77-156

Patrick Green 73-84-157

Bob Coen 89-N/A-WD

Sam Eiler 87-N/A-WD

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