Ashland Arrows

Ashland is king of the OCC hill in golf


Golfers always talk about tough holes and refer to tough pin placements as being reason enough to struggle on a hole.

West Holmes coach Phil Schlabach said that at Mohican Hills Golf Course west of Wooster, you can’t say any of the holes are tough pin placements because every hole is a tough pin placement.

Ashland, Lexington and Wooster knew they would have to play well to take the Ohio Cardinal Conference Tournament title at Mohican Hills Thursday, Sept. 24.

West Holmes felt it could edge into the top four if it played its game.

It turned out to be very much the script, as the Arrows of Ashland got great golf from their top three men, to claim the big prize. West Holmes struggled a bit to manage the fast, undulating greens of Mohican Hills, and was beaten out for fourth place by a good Clear Fork team.

Ashland got scores of 71 from eventual medalist Beau Beyerl, 72 from freshman sensation Max Watson and a 73 from Johnny Peck to win the match with a brilliant score of 303. Lexington placed runner-up at 317 while Wooster earned third, just two shots back at 319.

For West Holmes, which shot a 340, just five shots off the pace of Clear Fork’s 335, the difference came on those tough greens.

“We didn’t handle the greens very well here today,” said West Holmes coach Phil Schlabach. “They are quick, and if you get on the wrong side of the hole, it is easy to be a couple feet away and end up seven feet past the hole.”

Schlabach said the nights didn’t play poorly from tee to green, but finishing holes was the problem.

A.J. Race (chip video), playing in his final OCC golf function, came through with flying colors, firing an 80, good for the seventh best score on the day.

Race survived a couple of double bogeys and maintained a steady pace of play. Two man Philip Schlabach shot a 39 on the front but couldn’t maintain that momentum, ending up with an 85. One man Blaine Hager (par video) said he couldn’t get anything going all day and came in with a rare 87, but it was Eric Biltz who kind of saved the day for West Holmes, carving out a solid 88.

“Biltzy played some pretty solid golf, and that is a good score for him on this course under this kind of pressure,” said Schlabach. “I thought to myself after we practiced here last night that Biltz might be that guy from the back end who steps up his game and plays well.”

Both Court Stout and Jake Bowman limped in with identical 98s to round out the scoring for West Holmes.

Beyerl (eagle video) ended up in a showdown with Lexington’s Kaleb Smith, who matched identical 71s, then marched out to the first hole for a playoff. It didn’t take long, with Beyerl ending the playoff on the first hole for the win. Clear Fork was paced by Dakotah McClain’s 76, while Orrville got a 93 from Connor Budd, to finish sixth at 396.

Ashland coach Aiden Jones said he knew that in a tough OCC crowd, his team would have to play well. He figured his top three players would score, but felt they needed one of the bottom three players to step up and play well. That came to fruition when the Arrows got an 87 from Tony Chardon.

“We’ve been working on mental preparation all season long,” said Jones of his team. “It’s a great group of kids who have bought into all of the little things that make a difference. Today my guys were really locked in.”

Jones said before the tournament, he gave his kids a speech about playing the game for someone else other than themselves. That we, he said they all needed to have each other’s back.

“We try not to chase numbers, but just think about each shot,” said Jones, who gets every single one of his players back next year. “We left our shots in good position today.”

He credited with the team’s putting as being the key.

Wooster coach Mark Snowbarger said his team understood the challenges of playing a tough course against a pair of juggernauts in Ashland and Lexington, noting that the Generals weren’t playing against the worst teams around.

Still, a sluggish start to the day left the Generals on the outside looking in, along with Lexington.

“We started out bad but we finished strong,” said Snowbarger of his team. A few of our guys started out with doubles or triples, but then we recovered and played pretty much like we are capable of playing.”

Corey Musselman led the Generals with a fine 76, while teammate Anthony Panepento survived a nightmare start with a triple bogey on the first hole to fire a 79. Four-man Brent Dillon played extremely well, matching Panepento at 79.

Brent is definitely capable of putting up good numbers like that,” said Snowbarger.

Two-man Grant Peabody was in good shape until the final hole, where he posted a quadruple-bogey to finish at 87. Wesley Roberts added an 85 and Emma Jeffries tacked on an 89 for the Generals.

The 319 isn’t a bad score, but Snowbarger said it is going to take a little better effort if the Generals want to achieve the great goals they have set for themselves in tourney play.

“We still have to each take about two or three strokes off our game, but we are close,” said Snowbarger. “We would love to get down to around 310 for sectionals and districts. That is our aim because that is what it is going to take for us to move on.”

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