New Albany, Dublin Coffman and Dublin Jerome advance to state tournament
New Albany High School boys golf coach Andrew Norman couldn't stop smiling after his team won its first district championship.
He didn't even stop smiling during the awards ceremony following the Division I district tournament held Oct. 9 at Apple Valley when tournament director Chuck Daubenmier inadvertently said “Dublin ... uh, New Albany” while shaking his hand and presenting him with the championship trophy.
Seeded fourth in the district, the Eagles shot a 298 to finish first of 15 teams and secure one of three qualifying spots for the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. Fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman (300) and second-seeded Dublin Jerome (306), the defending state champion, also advanced.
Avery Schneider led the way for New Albany with a 1-under-par 71 and earned medalist honors. Also scoring for the Eagles were Grant Oehler (74), Jackson Moss (75) and Jack Carter (78).
“I’m very happy, especially since we started slow on the front nine,” Norman said. “We played our best when we needed to the most.
“We shot a 154 on the front nine and then shot even-par 144 on the back. We had to play some catch-up and we were able to do that.”
Top-seeded Pickerington North also shot a 306 but lost the final qualifying spot to Jerome on the fifth-score tiebreaker. Jerome's fifth score was an 81 by Brady Bohl, while North's fifth score was an 85 by Zack Goodchild.
Rounding out the top six were third-seeded Upper Arlington (315) and sixth-seeded Olentangy Liberty (323).
“I told the players (Oct. 8) that depth would be the key at district,” said Jerome coach Craig Zesiger, whose team was led at district by Chad Howard (72). “Then, it turns out that the fifth score was the difference. We really have a deep district.”
The top three individuals not on a qualifying team also advanced to state. Thomas Worthington's Curtis Salmans (73) and Reynoldsburg's Darnell Ellis (74) earned the first two spots, but a four-player playoff was required to determine the final qualifier as Pickerington North's Nick Montes and Scot Sapp, Olentangy’s Dylan Ahonen and UA’s Will Mason all shot 75.
Ahonen and Mason were eliminated after the first playoff hole and Sapp edged Montes on the second hole.
“We’re disappointed, but we congratulated the (team) winners and we’ll come back next year ready to play,” Pickerington North coach Casey Milligan said. “We had pressure on us (at district), but we’ve played in pressure situations all year.”
Coffman coach David Woodmansee said his team didn’t feel pressure at district. The Shamrocks shot their lowest round of the season, 295, on the same course Aug. 20 in the second round of the OCC-Central Division tournament.
F.T. Roewer and Nick Sparling each carded a 72 to lead the Shamrocks at district.
“The kids feel like they can play this course well, and we’re comfortable here,” Woodmansee said. “They were really focused at taking things shot by shot and really did well.”
Coffman will be making its fourth consecutive state appearance. Last season, the Shamrocks finished fourth (636) in the 36-hole state tournament behind Jerome (623), Centerville (626) and UA (629).
“We had a couple of guys (Sparling and Brian Truckly) who played at state last year, but the rest of them were there watching the tournament and supporting the team,” Woodmansee said."They know what it’s all about. Once you get to state, you’ve already accomplished a huge goal. Now it’s time to go out and have some fun.”
Four Jerome players — Bohl, Howard, Michael Harris and Mert Selamet — all played at state last season.
“Experience is so crucial at (the state) level,” Zesiger said. “First of all, it’s a two-day tournament, which is a totally different ballgame. Then you figure in just how hard the Scarlet Course plays. New Albany shot a 298 (at district), but there won’t be any 298s shot either day (at state).
“The state record is 610 (set by St. Charles in 2010), and that’s 305 per day. We won it with a 623 last year and the winner will probably be around that number this year.”