GOSHEN — With 27 holes remaining in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division golf season, Clinton-Massie found itself in unfamiliar territory – trailing.
Winners of the last two South Central Ohio League golf titles, the Falcons would have to play catchup to win a third straight league title.
After a 7-stroke win in the 18-hole competition Sept. 14, Clinton-Massie finished its own three-peat in style, winning the final 9 holes Wednesday by 11 shots to clinch the league championship.
Clinton-Massie shot a 162 on Wednesday at Deer Track Golf Course. The Falcons finished with 1,315 total strokes over the 72-hole competition.
“The kids were relaxed, and played some pretty good golf over the final 27 holes of league play,” CM head coach Brian Mudd said. “It says a lot about their mental makeup. They’re pretty mentally tough kids.”
Wilmington, which led with 27 holes remaining, finished as league runners-up after shooting a 173 in the final round. The Hurricane finished with 1,331 strokes.
Knowing they had ground to make up, Wilmington tried to attack the golf course. However, a tough start made the comeback attempt difficult.
“The thing that got us off guard was nobody really had a good start,” WHS head coach Phil Gilmore said. “Being down five, we knew we had to be on attack mode. We really couldn’t piece anything together.
“When the defending champions have a smooth start … I think a couple of bad holes led to us having to force some things.”
Western Brown was third with 1,409 shots.
Falcon Keith Mineer was both the match medalist (35) and the player of the year (303 total). Mineer played the final 27 holes in 4-under par.
“To play the last 27 holes of league play in 4-under is ridiculously good,” Mudd said. “He’s playing some good golf right now, and it’s a good time of year to continue that trend.”
Mudd was American Division coach of the year.
A new league, a new league championship format and new golf courses awaited Clinton-Massie and Wilmington this season. However, the final nine holes took place on a course several Falcon players were familiar with.
“A lot of our kids had some knowledge of the golf course and had played it a few times,” Mudd said. “They were pretty comfortable on the golf course. That was the big thing. Some of these courses in the SBC, we haven’t played at before. This happened to be one that a handful of the guys had some experience on.”
Mineer was joined on the all-SBAAC first team by teammate Max Carnevale, who shot 39 on Wednesday.
Wilmington placed three players on first team, led by Jack Murphy. He shot 41 on Wednesday and 315 over 72 holes. Hunter Deweese shot 40 on Wednesday and 333 total, while Cameron Smart shot 46 to edge Western Brown’s Ty Large for the final spot on first team.
“It was a difficult position for them to be in,” Gilmore said. “They did their best. They just had a bad start. I’m really proud of each and every one of those kids.”
Falcons seniors Alex Burnham and Cam Collett, along with Wilmington senior Dylan Combs, earned second-team honors.
Sept. 20, 2017
@ Deer Track Golf Course
Final team standings: Clinton-Massie 1,315; Wilmington 1,331; Western Brown 1,409; New Richmond 1,518; Batavia 1,737; Goshen 1,792.
Wednesday’s round (Front 9, Par 36)
Clinton-Massie (162) Keith Mineer 35, Max Carnevale 39, Nick Young 44, Alex Burnham 44, Cam Collett 50, Ryan Riggers 50; Western Brown (168) Ty Large 40, Tabor Tesmer 42, Jordan Lind 43, Ryan Osborne 43; Wilmington (173) Hunter Deweese 40, Jack Murphy 41, Cameron Smart 46, Dylan Combs 46, Zach Zeckser 48, Zach Delaney 53; New Richmond (178) Lane Flamm 42, Jack Beineke 43, Mat Cox 44, Jackson Miller 49; Batavia (216) Ethan Berger 51, Luke Turner 51, Trey Sigourney 56, Keagan Gadbury 58; Goshen (217) Chase Huff 51, Nate Billingsley 52, Brice Noland 54, CJ Munafo 60.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.