Boys Golf: Zach Burton setting pace for young Hilliard Davidson

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Zach Burton, a junior who was first-team all-league and tied for seventh of 72 players in the Division I district tournament last season, returns to lead the Davidson boys golf team.

The Hilliard Davidson boys golf team is looking forward to the challenge of playing in the realigned OCC-Central Division.

Led by junior Zach Burton, the Wildcats are hoping to remain competitive throughout the four-round league tournament.

Burton paced the Wildcats with a 75 as Davidson opened the tournament by finishing fifth (333) behind Olentangy Liberty (296), Olentangy Orange (308), Dublin Coffman (321) and Upper Arlington (329) on Aug. 6 at Denison Golf Club. Bradley rounded out the scoring with a 334.

"It wasn't a great round, but that's golf," Burton said. "For having an off-day, it was pretty solid. ... Our division by far is the hardest one. It's a tougher league. I like the challenge. I like playing against the best and hopefully beating the best."

Last season, Burton represented the Wildcats in the Division I district tournament. He shot a 73 to tie for seventh of 72 golfers, but Davidson had its streak of competing at district as a team end at nine seasons.

"Going into this season, I'm feeling really good about my game," Burton said. "I definitely want to make it to the state tournament. I thought I could make it last year, and I'm even better this year. That's the goal. I want to play well there, too, but you have to get there first."

Also back is sophomore Matt Jackson, who missed the first round of league play because of a family commitment.

Burton had a 74.75 average in the league tournament last season to make first-team all-league, while Jackson (90) was honorable mention.

The remaining players are freshmen. Aidan Terek shot 83, followed by Ben Oakley (85), Silas Taphorn (90) and Will Barber (94) in the opening round of league play.

"I knew we would have some young kids that were coming up competing," second-year coach Brett Miller said. "They posted the scores that they needed to to get on varsity."

Davidson opened by finishing third (310) behind Pickerington Central (298) and Olentangy Berlin (300) in the Pickerington Central Invitational on Aug. 5 at Turnberry. Burton finished second (69) behind Berlin's Bryce Reed (66).

"The freshmen are going to have to step up really quick," Miller said. "We can post some low scores from what we showed (Aug. 5), so I'm excited about it."

Feeney familiar with Jaguars

Kevin Feeney has taken the reins at Bradley after 10 seasons as coach at Memorial Middle School.

That experience has the first-time varsity coach knowing the hand he was dealt when Scott Allen resigned after five seasons.

The Jaguars return three starters in seniors Tison Alexander and Luke Lehman and junior Griffin Dixon. Bradley finished third (20-8) in the OCC-Cardinal last year behind Dublin Jerome (27-1) and Berlin (20-8).

"I coached the middle school boys team, which was co-ed, for 10 years so I know the boys," Feeney said. "I don't think we'll be as strong as last year, but Tison and Luke have been really good leaders for us."

Alexander, who is in his fourth varsity season, and Lehman both were third-team all-league last fall.

"Tison can hold his own against anyone," Feeney said. "He played a ton of golf over the summer in (the Central Ohio Golf Academy), probably playing once or twice a week."

Senior Eric Litterer, junior Erik Miller and sophomore Chapin Harrington round out the top six. Juniors Scott Caudill and A.J. Swearingen and sophomore Ben Colombini also could break into the lineup.

The Jaguars, who compete in the OCC-Central this season, played in the first round of league action Aug. 6 at Denison Golf Club and finished sixth (334) behind first-place Liberty (296).

Alexander and Lehman both shot 80. Dixon (86), Litterer (88) and Harrington (100) also played.

The second round was Aug. 12 at Turnberry, and the third round is Aug. 26 at Apple Valley.

-- Scott Hennen

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Panthers look to elevate play

Coming off a season that saw it reach the Division I district tournament for the first time in 12 years, Darby aspires to finish in the upper tier of the OCC-Cardinal this season.

The Panthers shot a 339 in the district tournament at Apple Valley to finish last of 12 teams behind champion Jerome (300), which went on to win the state title.

Darby finished fifth (11-17) in the league.

"We want to make a well-respected run to finish high in the conference," 12th-year coach Brent Bowers said.

In the first round of league play Aug. 6 at Turnberry, the Panthers shot 359 to place fifth behind Jerome (296), Berlin (312), Marysville (344) and Olentangy (356). Junior Jared Wells led with an 82, followed by senior Zach Brandewie (88), junior Garrett Pierce (94), senior Nick Stern (95) and junior Erik Dickmann (99).

Wells "really became our (No. 1 player) toward the end of the year last year," Bowers said.

Brandewie will fill the second spot in the lineup and form a strong one-two punch with Wells.

"I think both of them want to average in the 70s," Bowers said. "I think they both really enjoyed the (district tournament) experience last year and want to try to help the team repeat that."

Stern is expected to be the No. 3 player.

"Nick was in the varsity rotation last year, and so we're hoping for good things from him this year, too," Bowers said. "Nick is a good leader, too. (Wells, Brandewie and Stern) will be our leaders for sure."

Pierce, Dickmann and junior Hunter Bradfield will round out the rotation.

-- Stephen Borgna

sports@thisweeksports.com

@ThisWeekSports

At a glance

BRADLEY

*Coach: Kevin Feeney, first season

*Top players: Tison Alexander, Griffin Dixon and Luke Lehman

*Key losses: Michael Chapman, Travis Manring and Tyler Mordarski

*2019 OCC-Cardinal standings: Dublin Jerome (27-1), Olentangy Berlin (22-6), Bradley (20-8), Delaware (19-9), Darby (11-17), Worthington Kilbourne (8-20), Thomas Worthington (4-24), Dublin Scioto (1-27)

*2019 postseason: Seventh at sectional

DARBY

*Coach: Brent Bowers, 12th season

*Top players: Zach Brandewie, Nick Stern and Jared Wells

*Key losses: Michael Beard, Marcus Hunter and Adam Tiven

*2019-20 OCC-Cardinal standings: Jerome (27-1), Berlin (22-6), Bradley (20-8), Delaware (19-9), Darby (11-17), Kilbourne (8-20), Thomas (4-24), Scioto (1-27)

*2019 postseason: Fourth at sectional, 12th at district

DAVIDSON

*Coach: Brett Miller, second season

*Top players: Zach Burton and Matt Jackson

*Key losses: Drew Miller and Zach Welch

*2019 OCC-Central standings: Upper Arlington (19-1), Dublin Coffman (17-3), Davidson (12-8), Marysville (8-12), Central Crossing (4-16), Westland (0-20)

*2019 postseason: Ninth at sectional

Darby's Jared Wells follows a tee shot during the first round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 6 at Turnberry. Wells led the Panthers with an 82.