Word quickly spread that Stephen Gangluff was one of the four players who accepted an unrestricted sponsor exemption to join the field at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

Word quickly spread that Stephen Gangluff was one of the four players who accepted an unrestricted sponsor exemption to join the field at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

Once play began, Gangluff inched toward the top of the leaderboard. From green to tee and wherever he went at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, Gangluff heard from well-wishers.

"It's been great out here," he said. "It's nice to come home and have the fans. It gives you that little extra boost to dig deep. It's been a lot of fun."

Gangluff finished tied for 17th with a four-round total of even-par 284.

Gangluff was born in Marysville and played at Ohio State from 1993-96. He started playing at Mill Creek Golf Club in Ostrander with Ben Curtis before moving to Marysville Golf Club.

"That's where I played and I grew up," Gangluff said. "I would go out there every day and I worked there. I also played high school there, so (Marysville Golf Club) was my home course."

Currently, he is fully exempt on the Canadian Tour and is ranked No. 61 in the Canadian Tour Order of Merit. In 2006 he was the Canadian Tour Order of Merit winner and Rolex Player of the Year.

Since turning pro in 1996, he made 15 cuts on the PGA Tour, had four top-10 finishes on the Nationwide Tour and made the cut in the 2001 and 2006 U.S. Opens.

Last season, as a conditional member of the Nationwide Tour, he finished tied for 34th at the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

This season, Gangluff has played in four Nationwide Tour events and one PGA Tour event. His best performance of the year in his hometown moved him from 185th to 141st on the Nationwide Tour money list.

"I'm playing good golf, it's a matter of things need to go my way," he said. "I can keep playing out here. I played well this week. I feel like I did nothing wrong, I just couldn't get the ball to go in the hole."

Gangluff's top-25 finish at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational qualified him for the Cox Classic at Champions Run in Omaha, Neb., beginning today.

"I feel like I can play my way on this tour and win out here," he said. "It's just a matter of playing consistently."

•OTHER CENTRAL OHIO PLAYERS -- Zach Doran, Kyle Reifers, Chris Smith and Jack Steinicke also have area ties and played in the tournament.

Doran, Smith and Steinicke are former players at Ohio State and Reifers is from Dublin.

Reifers missed the cut by two strokes. Steinicke, who is the assistant pro at Zanesville Country Club, missed the cut by 10 strokes. Smith finished tied for 67th at 291 and Doran was 75th at 296.

•SCARLET AGAIN SUCCUMBS TO SIHWAN -- Sihwan Kim was back in Columbus and back to taming the Scarlet Course for the second consecutive summer.

Last Sunday, the Stanford sophomore shot a 2-under par 69 to finished tied for sixth overall and was the low amateur in his first professional event.

Last summer, Kim won the American Junior Golf Association's premier event, the Rolex of Tournament Champions, that was held at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

In his freshman season at Stanford, Kim was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and first-team all-Pac-10 and first-team All-American. The last Stanford freshman on the All-American team was Tiger Woods.

"It means a lot," Kim said. "I practice really hard to prepare for college golf and it worked out really good. I'm going to stay in college. It's a good life, it's fun and I'm not really in a big hurry. I'll just finish out college and see what happens after."

•CHAMP MISSES CUT -- Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational's defending champion, Daniel Summerhays, missed the cut in his return to Columbus, now as a pro.

Summerhays shot 74-72 to finish 4-over-par as the cut was made at 3-over-par.

•HONORARY CHAIRMAN STUMBLES -- The Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational's honorary chairman, John Cook, was leading the British Senior Open last Sunday in Troon, Scotland, by three strokes with 10 holes to play.

Cook bogeyed No. 18 to finish at 6-under par and fell into a playoff with Bruce Vaughan. On the first playoff hole at Royal Troon, Vaughan made a 20-foot putt for birdie for the win.

Vaughan played on the Nationwide Tour from 1992-94 and 1996-98, with two wins both coming in 1994.