Coffman earns district title in dramatic fashion
After nearly an hour delay at the start and with play moving slowly, the Division I district high school girls golf championship came down to a long putt in the early evening Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
That sort of drama could be in store again Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, when Dublin Coffman and Dublin Jerome compete in the state tournament on Ohio State’s Gray Course.
Coffman sophomore Lexie Long made a 20-foot putt on No. 18 at Cooks Creek to give her team a 314 that would tie Jerome. Because the Shamrocks had a better fifth-player score, they were awarded their first district title since 2000.
Joining Coffman and Jerome at state are Watterson sophomore Erin Harper and senior Natalie Meyers, who shot 73 and 74, respectively, to earn the district’s two individual qualifying berths. Harper was medalist.
“It’s going to be a show at the state tournament,” Coffman coach Randy Patton said. “It’s good theater. (Jerome is) very good and we are, too. They’ve got good kids and they’re well-coached. Our kids have played so well and worked so hard and we feel like we have a good chance down at Ohio State.”
Long turned in a 74 to lead the Shamrocks, who have lost to Jerome five times this season but also beat the Celtics on Oct. 6 at Cooks Creek when they shot 320 to place first while Jerome was second (324) in the 12-team Pickerington North Classic.
Also competing for Coffman at district were sophomore Kamerine Taylor (76), junior Charley Benefield (82), sophomore Nicole Smiley (82) and junior Kylie Raines (84).
“We’ve just worked together well as a team,” Long said. “We couldn’t have done it without all of our players.”
Last year, Jerome shot 312 to win the district tournament at Bent Tree and followed with a 627 to capture the state title at Ohio State. The only player among the Celtics’ top five who is not back is 2012 graduate Joon-Hee Shim, who was district runner-up and tied for fourth at state.
On Oct. 9, junior Lexie Toth and sophomore Maite Erana each shot 75 for Jerome, followed by sophomore Sybil Robinson (81), senior Jenna DiPaolo (83) and freshman Kennedy Jackson (97).
“We feel that Coffman and us are the two best teams in the state,” Jerome coach C.D. Butcher said. “We’re definitely both the best prepared for state next week.
“You can’t win state if you don’t make it. It’s been a totally different season than last year with us having expectations that are so high. We feel we’re real close to being where we want to be. We weren’t real sharp in our first six holes (at district) but if anything we rebounded well and made a charge in the last six holes.”
Watterson had a run of six consecutive state berths snapped a year ago when it placed fifth at district and had no individual state qualifiers.
The Eagles settled for fourth (338) of nine teams this year but again will be represented at state.
“I felt like if I played well that there wasn’t any way I wasn’t going to make it,” Harper said. “(My strength was) definitely my short game. I’ve been in a lot of tournaments, so I’m looking at state as just another tournament.”
Meyers and Long tied for second overall.
In the 2010 state tournament, Meyers shot 176 as the Eagles finished eighth. In 2009, Meyers shot 94 in a rain-shortened state tournament to help Watterson finish fifth.
“I’m really excited,” Meyers said. “I hit almost every green in regulation. (Competing at state) was such an amazing experience and that feeling was awful when I didn’t make it last year.”
Senior Gabby Milam shot 80 and senior Allisa Davis and junior Kristin Oliphant each carded 83 to lead third-place Pickerington North (335).
“I’m pleased with the kids because they came out and competed,” North coach Kitty McGrievy said. “It’s disappointing that only two teams make it to state from the Central District.”
The only other players to shoot better than 80 at district were Upper Arlington junior Leah Mills and Gahanna sophomore Emily Hughes, who both shot 79.
Mills was the only underclassman competing at district for the Golden Bears, who shot 354 to place fifth.
“Leah’s a junior who will be a captain for next year,” coach Kristi Ghidotti said. “This was her best round. Basically she was staying out of trouble and had some amazing drives.”
Thomas Worthington, which has had a program since 1996 but made its only other district appearance in 2006, turned in a 372 to finish sixth. Sophomore Sydney Kelly led with an 88 and junior Ally Lucas shot 91.
“We shot better than we did at the sectional,” coach Sean Kaiser said. “I’m real happy.”
Olentangy Liberty placed seventh with a 372. Junior Rachel Marks led with an 86.
Hilliard Bradley shot 380 to place eighth in its first district appearance as senior Jillian Bell led with an 86. Marysville was led by junior Mackenzie Edgar with a 90 as it shot 385.
Westerville South sophomore Felicia Davenport had an 81 for the second-best score among individuals behind Hughes.