COLUMBUS – Just a few miles away from 100,000 screaming scarlet and gray fans watching the Buckeyes make quick work of Kent State, the finest high school golfers that the Buckeye state has to offer teed it up for the final round of this year’s state tournament at the Ohio State Golf Club.
The division II players on the Gray Course saw conditions and scoring improve on Saturday, but for the division-III golfers the Scarlet Course continued to present a grueling challenge that saw overall scoring play nearly a half-a-stroke tougher per hole on the Scarlet Course compared to the Gray Course.
After the two-day grind was complete, Sugarcreek Garaway’s 660 was one-stroke better than Columbus Academy’s 661 to give Coach Ryan Taggart and his Pirate golf program the state title.
Garaway’s Kevin Miller fired a two-day total of 151 to lead the Pirates to the crown and capture a state title in the individual competition as well. The junior played the difficult course well making 10 pars, 4 bogeys, and 2 birdies for his final round 73 to help Garaway sweep the state titles in this year’s tournament. Miller’s individual title mirrored his team’s title in the fact that he did it by just one shot.
Josh Agin of Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans shot a 152, Alex Simpson of Columbus Academy carded a 153, Delphos Jefferson’s Dillon Klein finished at 154, and Nathan Tarter of Mogadore shot a 155 to round out the top-five and earn D-III first-team All-Ohio honors. Klein struggled on Friday shooting an 82, but the senior rebounded on Saturday shooting a tournament-low round of 72 to secure his spot in the top five.
“This is the toughest test of golf that I have ever experienced,” said Klein when asked about the challenge of playing the Scarlet Course on back-to-back days. “If you come here playing bad you can forget about it. If you come here playing good you are still going to play bad. If you come here playing great you will be lucky to play good. It is just a course where you find yourself trying to survive rather than score.”
Sandusky Saint Mary Central Catholic’s Aaron Ebert and Logan Cooke of New London both shot rounds of 156, just missing first-team honors but headlining this year’s All-Ohio second-team. They are joined by Oliver Holtsberry of Lima Central Catholic (158), Jordan Millice of North Lewisburg Triad (158) and Findlay Liberty-Benton’s Mike Streacker (159).
“The course really did play tough this weekend,” said Rosecrans coach Steve Coyle who watched his junior Agin brave the elements to earn first-team honors. “I have been coaching for 20 years and I am extremely proud of Josh. The weather was a little better today and he played really well.”
Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic enjoyed the overnight lead on Friday thanks to an opening-round of 324, but Saturday’s 346 dropped them to fifth-place. Sandusky SMCC experienced a little of the same. SMCC found itself only six back after a first round score of 330, but Saturday’s 333 although solid was not enough to catch the fine play of Garaway and Columbus Academy. Mogadore shot a 324 on Saturday which served as the second best team score of the day; however, it could only muster a Friday round of 344. Mogadore finished fourth eight shots back of the champions.
For the champions, Miller got help from all four teammates over the weekend. Senior Austin Yoder (95-90 = 185), senior Tyler Gerber (83-81 = 164), senior Josh Miller (89-85 = 174), and junior Michael Dague (88-83 = 171) all played a role on the tournament trail helping the Pirates to the title.