2 + 2 = Incentive to be No. 1

Austin Goodridge is hoping the third time is the charm.

Goodridge has finished runner-up in the Lima City Men’s Golf Championship the past two years, but this year he hopes to take the next step and hoist the first place trophy in the championship flight and realize a dream he has had since picking up the clubs.

“I would be proud to win this and get my name on the list of city champions. It would be something I could look back on and feel good about it.”

Goodridge’s quest for the top spot will begin when he tees off in the 2016 Lima City Men’s Golf Championship Thursday.

Approximately 120 golfers will be competing in the five-day event that began in 1925. At Hidden Creek, all senior flights (one day qualifier), and at Bluffton, all open flights (one day qualifier) begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The championship flight medal play qualifier will begin at 8 a.m. with low 32 first-round match play starting at 1 p.m. at Hidden Creek on Thursday. Senior flights match play will tee off at Bluffton at 8 a.m. and open flights match play at Colonial begins at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Shawnee Country Club will hold the final three days of all flights beginning on Friday and conclude with the finals Sunday.

Goodridge, a Lima Central Catholic alumnus, just graduated from Ohio Dominican University but is looking to earn his master’s and has one more year of eligibility left as a Panther.

As a junior last year at ODU, Goodridge put up some solid numbers. He had a season average of 76.8 that ranked fourth on the team and assisted the school to its third lowest team average in school history at 303.1.

As well as Goodridge did this past year, he knows he will have to bring his best game if he is going to place first.

“I look forward to this tournament the most,” Goodridge said. “There have been a lot of good golfers who have won the event like Dillon Klein ,Phil Trueblood and Ollie Holtsberry who are all high quality players. ”

Goodridge will try to unseat defending champion Josh Hollar. Eleven golfers in the tournament’s storied past have reclaimed their title the following year. Joe Whitaker was the last champion to repeat by capturing the title in 2008 and 2009.

Hollar, the University of Northwestern Ohio and Allen East product, outlasted Goodridge last year in a marathon 23-hole match that ended with Hollar sinking a 15-foot birdie on the fifth extra hole to collect first place and leave Goodridge a bridesmaid for the second straight year.

Playing in his third consecutive city championship, Goodridge said last year was a challenge after the change of playing 36 holes on the first day of competition.

The change in the format was part of some of fine tuning the Lima City Golf committee has made to try and attract more linksters to compete.

Matt Metzger, a member of the committee, said the rules changes enacted in the past three years are beginning to take hold and attract more golfers.

“We are happy to have around 120 golfers participating. We are a little over or close to that. That is going to be the new norm,” Metzger said. “ The championship flight has around 30. A couple of years ago we couldn’t even get 20 but a lot of the young talented golfers are coming back.”

On the technology side, Metzger said a new website with the ability to register online was successful and more than half the entries registered online. On the practical side, the tournament was moved to late June and the length of days played was shortened by one day.

Metzger said the changes were done after a survey was performed by the golf committee two years ago and he said the new changers were met with mixed reaction when they were first put into place but said he thinks they are for the better long term.

Metzger said the main reason to move the tournament up a month was due to the weather, barring late rain, and catching golfers who are just hitting their stride during the prime golf summer months.

He does add that by July golfers are enduring the hot days of summer and that might not be the case in late June. Metzger also factored in the fact that a lot of golfers, after some spring play, are just getting into their groove.

The decision to lose a day was introduced to help the participants manage their time and not have such a large time commitment dedicated to the event.

Metzger added that one thing is for certain and that this tradition that dates back some 80 years will continue.

“This tournament is not going to go away,” Metzger said. “It showcases the best talent in Lima.”

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Austin Goodridge, who has finished second in back-to-back the Men’s Lima City Golf Tournament, is looking to take top honors this year.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2016/06/web1_Goodridge.jpgAustin Goodridge, who has finished second in back-to-back the Men’s Lima City Golf Tournament, is looking to take top honors this year. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Josh Hollar tees off on the 10th hole during The Men’s City Golf Tournament at Colonial Golfers Club on Sunday. RICHARD PARRISH / The Lima News
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2016/06/web1_Hollar2.jpgJosh Hollar tees off on the 10th hole during The Men’s City Golf Tournament at Colonial Golfers Club on Sunday. RICHARD PARRISH / The Lima NewsRichard Parrish | The Lima News
Goodridge aims for top spot in city golf tournament

By Jose Nogueras

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Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1