Richard (Boo) Blakeman entered the press tent with

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Richard (Boo) Blakeman entered the press tent with a 62 on his scorecard

and became the tournament leader. But that was it for the former Kent State

University golfer who faded out of the picture.

Monday, at the 1997 Ohio Open played at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course, Blakeman

made up for the inconvenience to the media by firing a 64 that earned him

a share of the lead with late finisher Jim Karr, a teaching pro at Oak Golf

Facility in Columbia Station.

The pair nursed a one-shot edge over a full field of 266 players that included

a record 58 amateurs.

On their heels are Joe Oglivie of Lancaster and Nevin Sutliffe, an assistant

pro at Plum Brook in Sandusky, each with 65s.

Behind them is a wall of players in the 60s that included such area golfers

as Steve Parker, a former Kent Stater, and Tony Adcock of Hartville, 66

apiece; Eric Frishette and Donnie Darr, two more Kent State golfers, at

67, and another, Rob Moss of Kent, at 68.

In the Amateur division, Ryan Dennis, a Walsh Jesuit High School player

from Stow, shared the lead with Steven Lee of Columbus and Don Padgett III

of Akron. The trio all posted two-under-par 68s.

``That 62 last year may have been somewhat of a fluke,'' explained Blakeman.

``I hadn't been playing good then, but I came in today with two wins and

a second in recent outings.''

Blakeman teed off early on the Dales course, generally regarded as the tougher

of the two. And it was an auspicious beginning.

He birdied the first, second, fourth, sixth _ with a 15-foot putt _ and

the ninth with a 35-footer that gave him a 31.

Blakeman added birds on Nos. 12 and 13 before running into a bogey on the

15th.

Playing on the Tornado mini-tour at the par 70 Tam O'Shanter helped Blakeman's

game and confidence. He won an event and finished second in another while

shooting a 62 on the Dales. He also captured the Wilkshire Open at Bolivar.

Driving was the key to Blakeman's success. ``I changed my grip and my swing

weight,'' said the Canton resident.

Blakeman, 24, isn't affiliated with any golf club. At the moment, he's just

out playing tournament golf and doing very well. In the fall, he plans to

give qualifying school in Florida a shot, with a PGA berth as the ultimate

goal.

A native of Strongsville, who moved back to Cleveland from Florida, Karr

pointed to his putter as the key to his performance.

``I made an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and a 20-footer on No. 11,'' said

Karr. ``My game was solid. I missed only two greens all day.''

Karr shot a 67 to launch his first round last year, then skidded to a pair

of 74s. His assortment today showed six birdies and nary a bogey.

Karr, who finished four hours after Blakeman, said play was unbelievably

slow on the Hills course. ``It was difficult. You had to wait on almost

every shot.''

The 37-year-old Karr termed the greens between medium and slow, ``exactly

what I expected because I had played the course in a Tornado tournament.''

Oglivie played the final 10 holes five-under par. ``I was impatient for

eight holes, then I made a 20-foot birdie on the ninth,'' he said.

After that Oglivie made five birdies, aided by putts ranging from 10 to

15 feet.

It was the second time he had played here in the past two weeks as he competed

on the Tornado Tour, shooting 64 and 68. Last year, Oglivie began the tournament

with a 73.

Moss, the former Kent State left-hander, experienced an up-and-down round,

sinking seven birdies that were offset with five bogeys.

``I had a good week at the Cleveland Nike Open and made the cut in the Hershey

Open,'' offered Moss. ``It's nice to play here and see a lot of old friends.''

Defending champion Dennis Miller of the Trumbull Country Club virtually

shot himself out of contention with a three-over-par 73. Miller said his

play has been limited this season because he has been busy at the club.

The day featured a late hole-in-one by Dave Dominack of Cleveland, who used

a nine-iron to sink his tee shot on the 133-yard 12th hole.

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