Very few things in golf are a sure thing. Not two-footers for birdie, not hitting a wide-open fairway and not breaking 80.
However, one thing you can be very sure of is that the annual Wooster General Cup will feature some of the very best talent throughout the state of Ohio high school golf.
“Coaches from some of the top teams in the state talked with their players, and they said they would almost rather come here than play at state because they know they will be facing some of the best teams in Ohio,” said Wooster coach Mark Snowbarger. “The competition here is so intense, and the course here is a great challenge, and they go out of their way to make this a great experience for the kids.”
Snowbarger said they expect somewhere between seven to 10 of the teams in attendance to reach the state tournament, and it is always enjoyable to see that level of competition come to Wooster to compete.
On the challenging, tight and undulating Wooster Country Club Golf Course in Wooster, 26 teams went into the day with high hopes Monday, Sept. 12, and only Dublin Jerome, a repeat winner, came out of it with the General’s Cup, touting a tremendous score of 295.
Right on their heels at 301 was a great group effort from the Ashland Arrows, who parlayed four sub-80 scores into a stunning 301, good enough to eke past third-place finisher Olentangy Liberty (301), whom the Arrows beat on a tie-breaker.
“I’ve got a great group of kids this year who have worked really hard,” said Dave Chapman, Ashland head coach. “We’ve been very consistent. We have won four other tournaments this fall, and even though we didn’t necessarily have our “A” game today, we were able to work through it, and the kids responded to some adversity today against a really top-notch field.”
Ashland got another tremendous effort from senior leader Beau Bayerl, who carded a splendid 73 n the day. Teammates Johnny Peck and Max Watson also were on fire, each carding a 75, while Tony Chardon shot a 78.
“These kids keep playing for each other, and that is what happens when you do that.”
As for the competition level, Chapman said facing off against great competition like Dublin Jerome and Liberty Olentagy will only benefit them in the long run.
“While we left some strokes out on the course, we are pleased with a second-place finish because we know what kind of competition we are going to face here,” said Chapman.
While the Arrows were enjoying another robust day on the links, neither of the local teams were very thrilled with the results of the day.
Nine-time consecutive state qualifier Garaway ended its day in a tie for 12th with Dublin Coffman. The Pirates got a good effort from Brevin Weaver, who fired off a 78. Senior Ben Koshmider knocked two drives out of bounds and took a 10 on a par-5, and aside from that struggle, shot a decent 83. Michael Yoder added an 84 and Colten Fender pitched in with an 85. The scores are not accustomed to what Garaway is used to shooting, but the tight back nine and the incredible competition proved brutal, and the 12th place finish was not all that bad.
For Wooster, the chance to do well on their home course turned into a nightmare. The first was when Wesley Roberts was disqualified mid-way through the tournament after playing a ball incorrectly. The next was when the generals, who had been playing extremely well as of late, simply didn’t get any kind of roll going. That led to a total of 335, and left them in 16th place.
“We have played a whole lot better than we did today, so that was disappointing, because we didn’t take care of our home turf,” said Snowbarger. “We have had some success this season, but this shows us that there is still work to be done. We seem to be better when the competition is not as good, and we’d like to turn that around. We had some guys who played OK but know they can do better, and we had a couple of guys who struggled today.”
Anthony Panepento overcame a rough start to carve out a very respectable 78, a score that was good for most but none too pleasing for the Generals standout. Steady Brenton Dillon was right behind with a 78, but Mason Frazier and grant Peabody both limped home with 90s, scores well above what they have been shooting this fall.
The 16th place finish does little to mar what has been an excellent campaign for the Generals thus far, an effort that included a championship effort at Oak Shadows Golf Course in New Philadelphia just days earlier.
“We have shown some signs of being a very good team this fall, but we have to learn to step up and deliver, especially when we are on our own home course,” said Snowbarger. “But that is why we enjoy bringing this kind of competition here every year, because we know in the long run it is going to make us better. It is a good learning experience for us.”