Nick Reardon didn't dance coming off the fifth green while playing Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin for the first time as an eighth-grader, but he probably felt like it after rolling in his third shot.

Nick Reardon didn't dance coming off the fifth green while playing Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin for the first time as an eighth-grader, but he probably felt like it after rolling in his third shot.

"That was the first time I made an eagle," he said, recalling one of his favorite golf moments, a feat accomplished with a long putt on the par-5, 527-yard hole. "Pretty cool, definitely."

The fact that it came on one of the course's easiest holes doesn't matter. An eagle is a fist-pumping event for players of all skill levels, even the professionals who might play the course erected by central Ohio native Jack Nicklaus more times in a single week every spring than Reardon has during his life.

"I've played out there maybe six times now," said Reardon, a Watterson High School senior who will continue his career at DePauw University. "I'll never forget any of my rounds."

Muirfield Village, which played host to a pro-am as the course's first event Aug. 11, 1975, and a year later served as the launching pad for the inaugural Memorial Tournament also founded by Nicklaus, has that effect on those fortunate enough to play the scenic layout, one that today includes more than 80 sand traps and water hazards on 13 holes.

"It reminds me a little of Augusta," Upper Arlington junior Colin Allen said.

It's been 37 years since construction began in 1972, yet Muirfield Village, which has grown from its original 6,978 yards to 7,366, remains a world-class facility. It ranked as the fifth most difficult course among the 54 used on the PGA Tour last season.

"I have this thing where I can remember every round and almost every hole I've played out there," said Dublin Jerome senior Aaron Siekmann, the Division I individual state runner-up last season who will play next year at Xavier. "Then I get to school and I can't remember the simplest things."

ThisWeek Community Newspapers asked six of the area's top prep players for their opinions and suggestions in regard to the course, named after the one in Scotland where Nicklaus won the first of his three British Open championships in 1966. One thing to keep in mind is that they don't play from the back tees, but even that or perhaps the occasional mulligan hasn't detracted from the challenges which still exist.

"I shot (even-par) 36 on the front side there once," Dublin Coffman sophomore Thomas Dunne said. "But mostly I've played terrible out there."

Indeed, some of the stories weren't pretty but all are memorable nonetheless. Some of them even border on fantasy.

The late Bob Hope and President Gerald Ford were among those scheduled to play a pre-tournament pro-am at Muirfield Village before a virtual monsoon canceled the event in 1978, which is par for the course given the Memorial's well-documented weather woes. Actor Sean Connery and President George H.W. Bush retain membership in the Captains Club, which annually selects the honorees.

"(My dream) would be I'm walking up 18 on Sunday with a chance to win the tournament," Granville junior Trevor Bright said. "I mean, what golfer around here hasn't thought about that?"

From their perspective

Upper Arlington

Trevor Bright

Granville

Thomas Dunne

Dublin Coffman

Jacob McPheters

Dublin Scioto

Nick Reardon

Watterson

Aaron Siekmann

Dublin Jerome

•Colin Allen is a junior at Upper Arlington. He tied for sixth at the Division I state meet as an individual as the Golden Bears also finished sixth.

•Trevor Bright is a junior at Granville. He tied for eighth at the Division II state tournament as the Blue Aces were third.

•Thomas Dunne is a sophomore at Dublin Coffman. He was second-team all-league in the OCC-Central Division as the Shamrocks finished second.

•Jacob McPheters is a sophomore at Dublin Scioto. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the team.

•Aaron Siekmann is a senior at Dublin Jerome. He was runner-up at the Division I tournament as were the Celtics. He will play at Xavier.

•Nick Reardon is a senior at Watterson. He tied for sixth at the Division I state tournament as the Eagles were fifth. He will play at DePauw.

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No. 8: Par Golf, page 8

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