The Davids of the golf world got their shot at the Goliaths during the annual Polar Bear Invite at Shady Hollow Country Club on Monday, Aug. 7, and for the most part the little guys held their own.
Garaway and Strasburg traveled north to compete with some of Ohio’s biggest and best golf programs, and when it was done, the Tigers had worked their way into a fourth-place finish while the Pirates settled into the middle of the pack but still saw some fine shooting from several team members.
Strasburg performed just as well as it had two days earlier when it won the Pirate Invitational at Willandale Golf Course in Sugarcreek.
At the Polar Bear, Strasburg’s Dylan Tucker fired a 72, and Mitch Neidenthal duplicated his earlier score of 73 at the Pirate Invitational, the two Tigers placing second and third overall as individuals. Calvin Willis and Mike Neidenthal carded 83s as the Tigers’ 311 placed them fourth at a very tough Shady Hollow Country Club track.
The top-three schools at the Polar Bear were all Div. I powers with St. Xavier winning with a 295, Massillon Jackson taking second at 305 and Akron Hoban third at 308.
“We were right there with those schools, so that’s another big confidence boost for us,” McClellan said. “It’s good to see us performing well against some really big competition.”
Garaway was led by freshman Zehnder Gibson, who has played like anything but a freshman in the early going. Gibson followed up his fine round of 77 at the Pirate Invite by posting a two-over-par 74 at Shady Hollow. Senior Brevin Weaver was close behind him with a 77, which matched his score at the Pirate Invitational.
“Zehnder has come in and shown he isn’t going to back down from any challenge,” Garaway coach Brad Nyholm said. “For him to post a 74 on a course like that is great, and Brevin really struck the ball well. He just couldn’t get any putts to fall. He said afterward that he felt like he played well better than his score would indicate.”
Rounding out the Pirates’ scores were freshman Rendall Weaver, who shot an 89; Micah Hallman, who carded a 91; and Andrew Kaufman, who matched the 91. Zach Immel added a 93.
“We still have some growing to do, but we went through this learning curve last year and got better and better, and that is all we can hope to do this year too,” Nyholm said. “These young kids have put a lot of time in, and they are hungry to prove they belong.”