A patient approach made the difference for Dublin Coffman High School junior Nick Sparling as he earned medalist honors in the Division I state boys golf tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

A patient approach made the difference for Dublin Coffman High School junior Nick Sparling as he earned medalist honors in the Division I state boys golf tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

After finishing fourth at state each of the previous three years, Coffman shot 641 to edge New Albany (644) for third in the 12-team tournament behind Dublin Jerome (630) and Centerville (631).

Sparling shot 145 (74-71) to become the first Shamrocks player to win an individual state title, finishing two strokes ahead of Chase Johnson of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.

"It still feels surreal," Sparling said. "I didn't hit incredible but I putted really well. You have to have a lot of patience on this course because it's very easy to make a couple of bogeys, and when you do, you can't allow yourself to press too much."

Last season, Sparling shot 164 to tie for 35th at state, while his brother, Jack, led Coffman with a 153 to place sixth. Jack Sparling now is playing for Miami.

"I've learned a lot from my dad (Brad Sparling) who used to coach at Duke, and I put a lot of hard work into my practices," Nick Sparling said. "The biggest difference is I've matured a lot and I realize that I can't get mad over one shot. I used to get frazzled over a bad shot, but I've learned to focus on every shot on every hole. My goal was to finish higher than my brother did last year, and it turned out to be a great experience."

Sparling shot a par-71 on Oct. 20, the lowest round in the tournament.

"I've never seen as much growth in one player as Nick made this past year," coach David Woodmansee said. "Nothing fazed him. He was focused on every shot and he never let adversity bother him.

"Nick is our program's first state champion, and that's saying a lot considering that Chris Wilson went on to play on the PGA Tour."

Also competing for the Shamrocks were senior Brian Sirak (tied for 25th, 80-84-164), senior Brian Truckly (tied for 27th, 86-79-165), senior F.T. Roewer (tied for 35th, 85-82-167) and junior Brennan Whitis (tied for 57th, 90-87-177).

"We lost six Division I caliber players to graduation the past two years, so to move up from fourth to third was a big accomplishment," Woodmansee said. "There were a lot of bumps in the road and we were only seeded fifth in our district based on what we did in the regular season. A lot of our kids were playing in this tournament for the first time and I think we were a little uptight the first day when we shot a 325 to tie New Albany for fifth place. But we were loose and relaxed (Oct. 20) and we peaked at the right time."