41st Area Golf Tourney seeing lower numbers in ’21 | Local Sports

After navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and successfully completing a milestone 40th Defiance Area Golf Tournament, the 41st edition of the annual event will tee off under a bit more normal circumstances on Saturday and Sunday.The next city champion will be named following 18 holes of action Saturday at Auglaize Golf Club before a champion is crowned following 18 holes at Eagle Rock Golf Club on Sunday.For tournament director Steve Meyer, completing the run of 40 straight years a season ago was an achievement worth striving for.“Everyone in the golf community looks forward to having another year of golf under our belts and playing in the tournament,” said Meyer, himself the winningest golfer in the event’s history with 15 championships. “Golf definitely won out in the COVID crunch, you’re outside breathing fresh air, people feel less worried being indoors.”A year ago, the tournament saw a first-time winner in women’s champion Sammy Seibel and a decade-long drought snapped as Casten Reed won the men’s title, his second career City Tourney win after claiming the event in 2010.“Last year was really good,” said Meyer of the finish to last year’s event, which saw Reed shoot 31 on the back nine to hold off Meyer and make a three-shot lead entering Sunday stand up. “I was worried with COVID and everything but we had some great scores and the people that won played really well. Hopefully we’ll see that this weekend.”In the 2020 event, Seibel joined her mother Karen (1999) as the first mother-daughter pair to win the City Tournament crown, shooting 73 and 79 to win the event, eight shots clear of three-time champion Jody Deal.As of Friday, neither Seibel nor Reed will be back to defend the title as numbers appear to be down for the 2021 event.“I don’t know if it’s because of COVID or what the reason might be but we’ve had a lot of people say they’re not able to play,” explained Meyer. “There’s a lot of other things going on and things to squeeze in. People are doing more things this year than last year. I’m guessing around 70 for this year’s event, last year we were over 90.“I look for a lot of the same guys to rise to the top, the Bill Meyer’s and those guys. Casten’s not going to be able to defend this year but guys like (2015 and 2018 champion) Mike Ross are strong contenders.”The more concerning numbers drop is on the women’s side, where as of Thursday afternoon, no golfers are slated to play.With the Ohio Women’s Stroke Play Championship in Oxford slated for this weekend as well, Meyer noted that many of the golfers that would have competed in the City Tournament are opting to compete in the stroke play event.On the men’s side, the event has not seen a reigning champion defend their title since Jeff Hunt won back-to-back events in 2005-06 while six-time winner Stacey Fay’s crowns in 2015 and 2016 mark the last repeat women’s title.Jesse Scott’s 2013 championship is the last first-time winner on the men’s side while the longest win streaks are four straight for the men (Steve Meyer, 1998-2001) and nine straight for the women (Martha Mallott, 1987-95).The weekend is slated to see sunny skies and high temperatures with a high of 86 on Saturday before a 91-degree scorcher forecasted for Sunday.As in previous years, the tournament’s format will be separated into flights, with championship flights for men’s, women’s and senior divisions. The men’s field will also have A, B, C and D flights by handicap with an A flight for the senior division and A and B flights on the women’s side. Any amateur golfer in Defiance, Paulding, Henry, Fulton and Williams Counties is eligible to compete in the tournament.Defiance Area Golf Tournament15 — Steve Meyer (’81, ’84, ’85, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’94, ’95, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’03, ‘14, ‘16).3 — Neal Detter (’83, ’88, ’96), Bob Switzer Jr. (’87, ’04, ’09), Bill Meyer (’08, ‘17, ‘19).2 — Jeff Hunt (’05, ’06), Casten Reed (’10, ’20).1 — Tom Donley (’82), Nelson Snellenberger (’86), Ed Spatz (’89), Steve Smith (’92), Ken Burns (’93), James LaLonde (’97), Adam Weaver (’02), Matt Haviland (’07), A.J. Hench (’11); Jordan Mack (’12); Jesse Scott (‘13); Mike Ross (‘15, ‘18).12 — Martha Mallott (’87, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’97, ’98, ’00).10 — Lisa Smith (’96, ’01, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, ‘13).6 — Stacey Hinkle (’08, ’11, ’12, ‘15, ‘16, ‘18).3 — Jody Deal (‘14, ‘17, ‘19)2 — Sal Hench (’85, ’86).1 — Bonnie Zeller (’84), Karen Seibel (’99), Patti Anderson (’02), Sammy Seibel (’20).

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