Chad Merzbacher felt honored to be one of two players selected to represent Team USA in the Optimist Golf World Cup on July 24 at the PGA National Resort and Spa Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Chad Merzbacher felt honored to be one of two players selected to represent Team USA in the Optimist Golf World Cup on July 24 at the PGA National Resort and Spa Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The 2012 Dublin Jerome High School graduate proved to be a worthy choice as he teamed with Evan DeRoche of Key West, Fla., to shoot a 7-under par 65 to win the 18-hole event along with co-champion Team Hong Kong.

Team Australia shot a 67 to finish third ahead of 15 other teams.

"Representing my country in a competition with players from all over the world meant a lot to me," Merzbacher said. "I got to meet players from South Africa, Hong Kong, Mexico and Canada, and it was fun for Evan and I to play with the players from Team Australia. The culture is a bit different in these other countries, but golf is an international sport and so we all spoke the same language in that way."

A thunderstorm prevented Merzbacher and DeRoche from competing in a playoff against Team Hong Kong.

"It would have been nice to do the playoff, but we shot the lowest scores on the back side, so we receive the trophies," Merzbacher said. "It was a lot of fun to represent Team USA, but I tried to treat it like any other tournament and play the same way I always do. Fortunately, we both played well on that day."

Merzbacher and eight other players from central Ohio also competed in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at the PGA National Resort and Spa Champion Course.

The boys 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 and the girls 10-12 and 13-14 tournaments were held July 19-24. The boys 16-18 and girls 15-18 tournaments were held July 24-29.

Merzbacher, a University of Tennessee recruit, shot a 294 to tie three players for 18th in the boys 16-18 competition.

"I was 3-under par the first day before I lost my swing in the middle of the round and shot a 76," he said. "I've been playing average in this tournament, so I'm just trying to find my swing again."

One of the three players who tied Merzbacher for 18th was Jerome senior Mert Selamet, who also finished 6-over par.

"I'm striking the ball well and my putting has been good, but I still left a few strokes out there," he said. "This is my fifth year competing in this tournament, but it's my first year in the older age division and there's a big difference in the competition level. They cut from 172 players down to 50 after the third day of competition, so making the cut and getting to finish this tournament was a bonus."

Also in the boys 15-18 tournament, 2012 Westerville North graduate David Monaco tied for 53rd by shooting a 309 and Upper Arlington's Matthew Arnold didn't make the cut after shooting a 244 through three rounds.

"This is my first year competing here and it was a great experience," Monaco said. "This tournament had the best competition of the summer tournaments I've played in. I played pretty well the first three days, but I shot (an 82 on July 29) which wasn't a great way to finish."

In the girls 15-18 tournament, Dublin's Lexie Toth shot a 315 to tie for 30th and Pataskala's Emily Dixon shot a 239 through three rounds to miss making the cut to 35 players by two strokes.

In the boys 14-15 competition, Westerville's Justin Conant tied five other players for 31st by shooting a 233 and Dublin's Jeg Coughlin III tied two players for 55th with a 243.

Miles Miller of Dublin shot a 275 to finish 29th in the boys 10-11 tournament.