Green’s Maxwell Moldovan dominates Stark Amateur on his home golf course

UNIONTOWN – Maxwell Moldovan’s stellar 36 holes of golf on Friday was a sign of things to come.

To prepare the Stark County Amateur Golf Championship, the Green High School graduate and Ohio State junior played a practice round with friends at the Prestwick County Club. He shot a 62 to tie the course record set by Justin Lower.

Moldovan played another practice round a few hours later and shot a record 61.

Yes, he was definitely ready for another title on his home run.

Moldovan topped the Open Division this weekend and won their third Stark Amateur Championship in four years. He shot 66 on Saturday and 68 on Sunday, finishing under 10 overall.

Moldovan immediately took control and never let go. He had a 6-stroke lead going into the final round and won by 11 strokes.

“I just had to keep doing what I was doing yesterday,” Moldovan said. “I had a lot of good shots. I hit 16 greens. It was kind of a stress-free round.

“I just wanted to keep it that way today. I got off to a good start and had a relaxed game. I had a few misfires in the middle of the round, but was able to get a few return shots .”

Moldovan, who played at the US Open last month, hit the par-5 No. 4 hole. He closed his round with back-to-back birdies.

The win took away some of the sting from last year’s three-round failure. Moldovan won the Stark Amateur in 2019 and 2020. Vaughn Snyder won the title in 2021.

“I was definitely aiming to get back into the winner’s circle of this tournament,” said Moldovan. “Vaughn played really well last year. I felt like I was playing well too, and he got me by a stroke. I knew I had to play some good days of golf this weekend.

“It was cool to have lots of friends and family and neighbors to watch. It made it a bit more of an event in terms of having a crowd and having applause and cheers when you hit from good shots. It was a lot of fun. There was definitely a big incentive to go out and win.

Maxwell Moldovan plays his shot from the 14th green in the first round of the US Open in June.

With Moldovan on cruise control, the race for second place was wide open. It was won by another player with green ties.

Junior Green High School Kyle Smith finished his second Stark Amateur at 1-over. His 67 on Sunday was the lowest round of the day.

“I was hitting the greens and putting a lot of putts,” Smith said. “That was the big problem. Yesterday I failed to knock down a putt. Today was fine.

“It was fun to be able to go out and play well in a tournament like this.”

Smith has always tried to model his game on that of Moldovan. The two practiced together. Smith learned a lot from him.

“It’s great to have a guy like that around me who can help me out,” Smith said. “That’s a big part of my current score.

“I played with him on Friday when he broke the course record twice. It was fun to watch.”

Speaking of scores, Smith’s score on Sunday was pretty significant.

“It’s the first time I’ve beaten him,” Smith said. “It was awesome.”

The Moldovan praises Smith.

“I’m really excited for him,” Moldovan said. “…Every time I’m home and he’s home, we play together here. I feel like he’s got a really good game,

“He’s also a green bulldog and his older brother is one of my best friends. I feel like I can have a positive impact on Kyle. If I can push him and show him ways to training and improving, that’s all. I want to do.”

Straight 72s helped Tom Laubacher to a 2-stroke win in the 50-59 split and Bruno Chirumbolo to a 2-stroke win in the 60-69 split. Mike Brady shot 70 in the final round and won the 70+ division by 13 shots.

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