Firm, fast greens made for difficult conditions in the opening round of the Division I boys golf state tournament Oct. 19 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

That didn’t seem to affect defending state champion Dublin Jerome High School, however.

The Celtics got a 77 from both Jackson Chandler and Mason Wagner and shot a 316 to lead the 12-team field. They hold a five-stroke lead over second-place Liberty Township Lakota East heading into the final round Oct. 20.

“It definitely played pretty tough today, but we stuck in there,” Wagner said. “The greens were tough. They were pretty firm and pretty fast. If you were above the holes, it was hard to even have a two-putt.”

Ethan Snyder (80) was next for the Celtics, followed by Tyler Groomes (82) and Ryan Miller (87).

“It was a mixture of our mindset and experience that allowed us to put up good numbers with the conditions we had,” Jerome coach Taylor Harle said. “Going into this weekend, we knew the weather wasn’t going to be perfect because it’s October and it changes quickly. It’s something we all have to play through.”

Cincinnati St. Xavier and Mason are tied for third with a 323, Massillon Jackson is fifth with a 333 and St. Charles and Akron Hoban are tied for sixth with a 334.

Oliver Mauntel led St. Charles with an 80, followed by Michael Shyu (84), Vince Campagni and Evan Yakubov (both 85) and Jason Zehala (86).

“After the practice round (Oct. 18), I thought anything under 80 would be good,” St. Charles coach Brian Unk said. “I thought par was about 80, to be honest with you. I have never seen the greens this firm and fast and with the slope that we have here, I knew it was going to be tough.”

St. Xavier’s Oscar Zimmerman carded an even-par 72 to lead the field of 72 golfers. Last year’s medalist, Max Moldovan of Uniontown Green, is second with a 73. Chandler and Wagner are tied with two others for fifth.

Olentangy Liberty’s Grant Smeltzer shot a 79 and is tied for 11th and Central Crossing’s Caleb Davern carded an 81 and is tied for 20th.

“Caleb has a ways to go, but I would never bet against him,” Central Crossing coach Justin Prati said. “If he plays to his potential, that’s going to give him a shot (at the state title), but he has a lot of fighting to do.”

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