Sapp thrilled to compete with state's best
Pickerington High School North boys golf coach Casey Milligan wasn't entirely sure why junior Scot Sapp struggled with the back nine of Ohio State's Scarlet Course during the Division I state tournament yet sometimes handled the front nine with ease.
"The back nine is a bit more difficult, and there are two par-fives on the front and one in the back," Milligan said. "I think it was more a situation where he found himself with some difficult placements after his second shots. But he played the front nine very, very well, and it paid off."
Sapp shot 19-over par 161 on Oct. 19 and 20 to tie for 12th overall with five other golfers and place second among individual qualifiers to Stow-Munroe Falls' Ian Holt (154). Dublin Coffman's Nick Sparling (145) was medalist.
On Oct. 19, Sapp started on the back nine and shot 43 before carding 37 on the front. The next day, he played the course in order and shot 38 on the front before another 43 on the back.
"On the holes where he missed, he didn't miss by much," Milligan said. "It was a great thrill for him to be there. He was disappointed, but I reminded him scores at state are very relative."
Sapp's weekend at state capped a year in which the Panthers went 232-11 overall -- a .955 winning percentage -- and won their seventh consecutive league championship but were unable to advance to state as a team. North hasn't qualified for state in its 10-year history.
North went 24-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division to win its fourth consecutive undefeated league title, finishing ahead of Lancaster (18-6), Gahanna (17-7), Grove City (12-12), Reynoldsburg (9-15), Newark (2-22) and Pickerington Central (2-22).
The Panthers shot 294 to win a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Granville Golf Course, finishing ahead of Upper Arlington (295), St. Charles (313) and Mount Vernon (316) as the top four teams advanced to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley. Junior Alex Weiss shot 71 to share medalist honors with UA's Matt Arnold.
At district, North tied eventual state champion Dublin Jerome for third (306) but lost the tiebreaker for the third and final state berth on fifth-player score. Sapp and freshman Nick Montes shot 75 to lead the Panthers, followed by Weiss (77), senior Garrett Brickley (79) and junior Zack Goodchild (85).
New Albany (298) and Dublin Coffman (300) advanced to state.
Sapp earned his state berth in a playoff, defeating Montes on the second hole.
Tigers hope to build on season
With five of his top six golfers expected to return next fall, Central coach Chris Cores hopes his team makes a climb back toward the middle of the OCC-Ohio.
"The biggest thing for us is to have an ability to get up when we're knocked down," said Cores, whose team finished 49-122 overall. "I knew we'd be in a situation where we'd face a lot of tough teams on some challenging courses. I hope having gone through that we can move on and make progress from it. I want to make sure we learn and get better."
The Tigers' only loss to graduation will be three-year letterwinner Park Lukich, who averaged 92 per 18 holes during the regular season. The rest of the team is expected to consist of junior Rodney Howell, sophomores Matt Katona, Nate Meek and Andrew Sikorski and freshman Daniel Dembski.
Howell led the Tigers with an 84.25 average during the regular season, followed by Meek (90.25), Lukich, Sikorski (93.4), Katona (93.5) and Dembski (96). Howell also had the team's two best rounds of the year, shooting 77 during the Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha on Aug. 25 and again Sept. 1 in the Pine Hill Invitational at Pine Hill.
In a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Darby Creek, Central shot 362 to finish 12th behind champion Coffman (303) and district-qualifiers Olentangy Liberty (312), Westerville North (320) and Hilliard Davidson (323). Howell and Meek each shot 87, followed by Katona (90), Lukich (97) and Sikorski (98) as no individuals advanced to district.