Gruninger Captures SDGA Gerry Ashe
At 17 years old, Johnny Gruninger (Bellevue), became one of the youngest players to win the SDGA Gerry Ashe Memorial tournament. He shot an incredible three-round total of 10-under par (206) to win by three shots at Lakeshore in Cicero.
On the first day, Carl Schimenti (RTJGC at Cornell) posted a 67 (-5) to give himself a one-shot lead over Mike Mento (Lakeshore) and Brian Levi (Yahnundasis) who both had rounds of 68 (-4). Johnny Gruninger shot 71 (-1) to put himself 4 shots off of the first round lead.
Round two provided even more fireworks with Carl Schimenti following his 67 with a 3-under 69. Kevin Vandenberg (Tuscarora and Lakeshore), the 2017 SDGA Gerry Ashe winner, had a respectable 69 (-3) to solidify his place in the final pairing. However, Johnny Gruninger surged up the leaderboard with a 67 (-5) with a second round that included five birdies and an eagle.
The final round at Lakeshore saw seven players shooting under par. Ryan Zogby (Yahnundasis) fired a 68 (-4) to finish solo fifth with a total score of 216 (Even par). Mike Mento followed up his second round 76 with a a 69 (-3) to finish solo fourth with a three round total of 213 (-3).
In the final pairing, Gruninger, Vandenberg, and Schimenti played traded birdies (and some bogeys) making for an exciting back-and-forth round. After making a double-bogey on the 15th hole, Gruninger proceeded to eagle the par-5 16th to take a four-shot lead over Vandenberg and Schimenti.
Gruninger had a short putt for par on the 18th to shoot 68 (-4) and capture his first SDGA Gerry Ashe Memorial. Kevin Vandenberg birdied two out of his last three holes to finish with a 70 (-2) giving him sole possession of second place, shooting 209 (-7) for the tournament. Carl Schimenti took solo third with a three round total of 212 (-4).