By Susan Jenior
The 93rd edition of the Portage County Amateur did not disappoint.
A former County Division champion makes a run at the top of the leaderboard again, a College of Wooster team member seeks to stay in the forefront of the Women’s Division and Youngstown State University collegiate golfers hold the top-three spots after the first round at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna.
Evan Ferrara, of Kent, won the Portage County Amateur in 2020, as he concluded his senior year at the College of Wooster on the men’s golf team. That year, he finished his second round with a two-stroke cushion to earn the championship.
On Saturday, Ferrara fired a 2-over-par 72 at a tough Windmill Lakes Golf Course to give himself a three-stroke advantage over current runner-up Jeremy Knight, of Streetsboro.
Dove Fall, of Windham, sets in third place, firing a 77.
Windmill Lakes proved a challenge for the golfers as rain swept through the night before and winds greeted competitors at the start of their round.
It did not stop Ferrara, who is always lurking around the top of the leaderboard in every Amateur. With his dad, Garrett Ferrara, as his caddie, he put together a stellar round.
If the Open Division is any indication, the Youngstown State Penguins are going to have a hard-to-beat team this season.
Three YSU men’s golf team members kept everyone away from the top of the leaderboard, including one firing the only under-par, 18-hole score of the day.
Jake Sylak, former standout at Mineral Ridge, took the lead, firing a 1-under-par 69 on the 18-hole championship fairways of Windmill Lakes.
Teammates Cole Christman (Canfield) and Michael Porter (McDonald), followed, turning in scores of 71 and 73, respectively.
Christman is also a former champion, winning the trophy in 2020 with a come-from-behind finish.
Two former Kent Roosevelt golfers and a Streetsboro alum will be chasing Sagamore Hills’ Allyson Siewert for the lead at Raccoon Hill.
Siewert, a member of the women’s golf team at the College of Wooster, carded a 77 to grab the lead over former Rough Riders standout, Morgan Bauza (83), a collegiate sophomore golfer at Niagara University.
Sydnie Leavery (83), of Kent, currently at La Salle, along with Samantha Miller (92), of Streetsboro, a varsity golfer for Muskingum, are all looking to move up the leaderboard on the final day of competition.
The final round of the Portage County Amateur will be contested at Raccoon Hill Golf Club in Kent.
Tee times begin at 9 a.m. with the Women’s Division, with championship pairings in the County Division at 10:30 a.m. and Open Division at 11:40 a.m.
Winners will be crowned in all three divisions at the end of Sunday’s round.