A little rain didn’t deter 14 teams from taking their best shot at claiming the 2016 Pines Invitational at The Pines Golf Course in Orrville Monday, August 15.
When the final score was recorded, Smithville had successfully defended its title, the Smithies’ winning score of 312 a dozen shots better than runner-up Hiland.
Leading the way again this year was Braden Smith, who fired a one-over par 73 to claim medalist honors over Dalton’s Eric Summers, who fired a 75.
Smithville’s score was three shots better than last year, when it won the Pines Invite with a 315. Hiland, which did not participate in last year’s invite, got a 76 from one-man Tremper Coblentz. Placing third was Dalton, which came in at 331, a score that was one stroke better than West Holmes, which placed fourth with its score of 332. The Knights were led on the score board by Philip Schlabach, who carved up The Pines with a solid 76.
Waynedale finished in fifth place with a 337, while Fairless rounded out the top six with a 345.
For the Knights, last year’s score of 340 was good enough to earn them a third-place finish. Despite carving off eight strokes, West Holmes actually slid down one spot as the competition improved.
“We seem to always play pretty well at The Pines, and Philip has done well individually the past couple of years,” said West Holmes coach Phil Schlabach.
The younger Schlabach started out great, and actually finished the back nine with a stellar 34. He simply ran into a string of bogeys that kept him from challenging Smith for the top spot.
He was joined by Carter Haun, who fired an 82, Blaine Hager, who carded an 85 and Evan Yoder’s 89.
“That was a solid early-season effort for us,” said Schlabach. “I was especially happy with the way Carter managed the course. He was very consistent all day long.”
The Hawks continued their early season roll, again placing in the top tier with a solid team score in the 320s.
In addition to Coblentz, the Hawks got a 79 from Bruce Yoder, an 84 from Johnny Mullet, an 85 from Dylan Kaufman and Claye Hummel added an 86.
“Tremper has been so incredibly consistent,” said coach Austin Kaufman. “I like where we are at right now with our team scores.
320 has traditionally been a score that gets us out of sectionals and to state, and I think this team can go a lot lower yet once we gain some experience with our younger guys.”
For a team that is very young and inexperienced, Waynedale help up fairly well in the rigors of tournament play. According to head coach Melinda Bates, the 337 is an average score for the Golden Bears, but she said even with the youth on the team, they expect to score better.
“It wasn’t our best effort, but it was acceptable,” said Bates. “We’ve gotten off to a pretty goods start this season, and I think this group expects a lot. They have really been working hard this summer.”
Dylan Ledford, a freshman, led the Bears with a 78, while Drew Hostetler tacked on an 82. Another freshman, Thad Weaver, produced an 87, while Trace Gray and Brianna Potts carded a 90 and 91, respectively.
Other teams in the mix included Hillsdale (361/7th), Chippewa (363/8th), Norwayne (364/9th), and Orrville (381/11th).