As Upper Arlington High School boys golf coach Doug Smith watched Quinn Patterson during the fourth and final round of the OCC-Central Division tournament Sept. 13 at Darby Creek, Smith found himself simultaneously pleased and jealous.
"He drives the ball so far and so straight that it makes me jealous for my own game," Smith said.
Patterson, one of only two returnees entering this season along with Dane Goodwin, found himself atop the Golden Bears' lineup in a league event for the first time as he shot a 73 to help ensure UA's second consecutive league championship.
The Bears shot a 313 and lost the fifth-score tiebreaker for first place to Hilliard Davidson, but still went 18-2 in the league to finish ahead of Dublin Coffman (16-4), Davidson (14-6), Marysville (8-12), Central Crossing (4-16) and Westland (0-20).
Matt Cramer shot a 77 for UA, followed by Cole Muldoon (78), Nathan Kelley (85) and Goodwin (86).
Coffman finished third (322) in the final round of league play, ahead of Marysville (341), Central Crossing (359) and Westland (562).
Patterson, a junior, called his long game his strength, as he generally drives about 290 yards, but Smith said there have been other keys.
"Quinn reworked his putting stroke a little bit and that's helped him under pressure," Smith said. "He could make a birdie or a bogey and he comes off looking like he had the best hole in the world. Quinn's a happy guy."
Patterson laughingly acknowledged that his game hasn't changed all that much the past several years.
"I'd classify myself as a ball-striker, but to be more particular, (my strength) is definitely my driving," said Patterson, who is averaging 76 per 18 holes this season. "I've been at that distance (290 yards) awhile. I grew early. I was 5-(foot)-10 back in the seventh grade and I stayed there. I've maybe gained 10 yards on my drive since then."
Cramer has the team's lowest round of the season, a 72 during Toledo St. John's Invitational on Aug. 21 at Inverness. Cramer said he has shot 72 six times during his career, but never better.
"I'm about where I thought I'd be," said Cramer, a junior who played on UA's varsity B team the past two years. "Sometimes I line up too far from the ball or too close. The biggest thing I'm working on is being a consistent distance from the ball. I'll see how much that helps me."
Smith said the team is largely where he wants it at this point of the year, not just because it won the OCC-Central championship, but because of its balance.
Cramer and Goodwin both shot 77 in the first round of the league tournament, and Cramer was UA's top scorer outright in the second and third rounds.
"I have a special group of guys. That's what we've been working toward," Smith said. "We want to implement a sense of intra-squad competition. Once we compete against ourselves, playing teams like Dublin Jerome and St. Charles won't be as big a deal."
UA has two remaining 18-hole tournaments in the regular season, beginning with the Upper Arlington Masters Invitational at Scioto Country Club on Saturday, Sept. 23. That is followed by the Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational on Sept. 30 at Tartan Fields, three days before a Division I sectional tournament.
"One phrase (Smith) mentions is 'trending nicely,' " Patterson said. "We haven't played to our full potential yet. Everybody knows that. We just need to fine-tune things. We're all excited for sectional."
Girls golfers wrap
up league title
Despite recording its highest score of the four rounds of the OCC-Central tournament, the girls golf team wrapped up its second consecutive league championship Sept. 12 at Royal American.
Emily Hummer shot a 79 to lead UA to a team score of 333, ahead of Coffman (345), New Albany (357), Davidson (397), Canal Winchester (399) and Marysville (403).
The Bears went 20-0 in the OCC-Central to finish ahead of Coffman (16-4), New Albany (9-11), Davidson (7-13), Canal Winchester (6-14) and Marysville (2-18).
Also scoring for UA in the final round of league play were Maddie Frank (82), Julia Rabadam (82) and Lilly Carine (90). Lizzie Murray shot a 102.
The Bears shot 299, 303 and 308 in the first three rounds, respectively.
for boys soccer team
After scoring just one goal in its first five games, the boys soccer team recorded three consecutive shutouts and was 2-0-1 in a three-game stretch before playing Davidson on Sept. 19.
UA got its first win Sept. 7, 2-0 over Canal Winchester, before a 5-0 win over Central Crossing in its OCC-Central opener Sept. 12. The Bears played Marysville to a scoreless tie in a league game Sept. 14, and were 2-5-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the league before Sept. 19.
Ryan Burke had three goals against the Comets. Noah Mitchell, Tristan Moore, Jacoby Ryan, Nico Slattery and Adam Wade each had one goal through eight games.
Despite its offensive troubles, UA allowed just 13 goals in its first eight games. Goalkeeper Pete Edwards made a season-high 11 saves in a 4-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Aug. 22.
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball and water polo teams:
Sept. 23 -- Boys: Saturday Night Lights at Centerville; Girls: Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 23 -- Upper Arlington Masters Invitational at Scioto Country Club
Sept. 23 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 23 -- At Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 26 -- At Westland
Sept. 21 -- At Dublin Jerome
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Westland
Sept. 21 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Central Crossing. The Golden Bears defeated the Comets 25-14, 25-18, 25-18 on Sept. 5.
Sept. 22-23 -- Boys: Cincinnati Princeton Tournament; Girls: Beast of the East in Reading, Pa.