The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
Amherst takes sectional title
When teams reach the postseason, it is about peaking at the right time. For the Amherst boys golf team, that is exactly what is happening.
Amherst won the boys Division I sectional tournament at Gray Hawk Golf Club with an impressive team score of 317, besting the second place team Westlake by six strokes.
“It is nice to see to come it through,” Amherst coach Mitch Gillam said. “You are working towards trying to be your best at a certain time of the year.”
Last season, Amherst finished seventh at the sectional tournament, so the improvement is clear and evident.
“I feel like we were in the shape last year to pull off this kind of performance but today we just struck the ball a little but better and made a few more putts,” Gillam said. “Our guys were more relaxed. Last year we had some younger players that might have been a little bit nervous but our seniors Austin Bray and Joey Kramer played well and Ryan Yoder was solid.”
Yoder has been the sensational sophomore for the Comets this season and he kept up his great play on Tuesday, finishing in a tie for third place with a 2-over par 74.
“I felt good,” Yoder said. “I was striking the ball pretty well and the putting was really good. Kept the ball in play.”
Also for the Comets, Austin Bray shot a 79, Landon Bray shot an 82, Joey Kramer an 82 and freshman Prince Tran shot an 89.
“I hit the ball well,” Austin Bray said. “I hit a few bad shots on the first nine and lost two balls so that was two strokes right there. Besides that, I was hitting the ball well, especially on the back nine.
“Our goal coming into this was to play to get out as an individual and if you play to get out as an individual and you do that, you will get out as a team,” Bray added.
“It’s nice,” Gillam said about watching his team perform. “You are putting in a lot of work and a lot of effort and trying to be playing well at the right time. Golf is a humbling game. You can be on your A game and then come out and have a bad day so the fact that all five of our guys played solid today is a credit to them.”
There was an hour long fog delay to start the day, keeping Amherst off the course for an hour longer than they wanted.
“It is weird because we prepare to go out at 8:30 and your body and your mind is ready and then you have to wait another hour,” Yoder said. “It feels weird.
“It’s nice to know that our preparation before this has prepared us for this moment and not letting the nerves affect us,” Yoder added.
“Every time out we just want to be playing as well as we can play individually,” Gillam said. “If we go out and play as well as we can, you just let the chips fall where they may.”
Westlake and Avon also qualified as a team, with the Demons scoring 323 points and finishing second as a team and the Eagles scoring 330 points and finishing fourth as a team.
There were also four individual qualifiers, with Olmsted Fall’s Ben Scheeff finishing third and shooting a 74, Rocky River’s Luke Dietrich and Nick Tianello both tied for fifth with a score of 78 and qualified and John Hammond from St. Edward was the final individual qualifier, finishing tied for eighth with a score of 80.
“The kids played pretty good,” Westlake coach Jon Cuomo said. “We came out here Saturday and scouted (the course) and it is a tough golf course. You can’t hit too many loose shots. We had a good plan coming in and knew the scores were going to be high and that is something that we have been working on. Just hanging tough and grinding out shots because every shot counts.”
Cuomo added “Chris (Brown) played lights outs today and the rest of the boys hung on. I am proud of them.”
Brown finished second overall with his even par round of 72.
“It was nice,” Brown said. “I hit some good shots. The putting really wasn’t there but I hit my irons well enough that it didn’t matter.
“You just have to focus on yourself and I think everyone did that and posted a good score and it worked out,” Brown added.
“It’s huge,” Cuomo said about moving onto districts. “Obviously you have to have the game but it is very rare that you go out there and you have your A game every time and you just have to be so mentally tough. You just can’t get down and have to be able to battle back from adversity and you have to snap back real quick.”
For Avon, Nolan King led the way with his round of 80, finishing tied for eighth place. Jack Gerborg was right behind him with an 81 for the Eagles.
Strongsville sophomore Dean Upholzer was the lone player under par for the day, finishing 1-under (71) and as the medalist.