One by one, Avon Eagles boys golf coach Jeff Stevens filled in his scorecard while seated on the outdoor patio at Hinckley’s Pine Hills Golf Club on Aug. 18. Four times out of six, he entered a score in the 70s.
The math was simple, the results overwhelmingly positive.
The Eagles, winners of the outright Southwestern Conference title in 2019, have opened this season on a tear, dominating tournaments all over the area. Two weeks ago, they won three tournaments in a five-day span. On Aug. 18, they ran away from the field at the annual SWC Preview with a team score of 299. It was their second SWC Preview win in as many years.
How good were the Eagles at Pine Hills? Olmsted Falls, the second place team, shot a collective 321. In third place, Amherst shot 326. Avon Lake and Midview tied for fourth at 329. Last season, the Eagles won the same tourney with a 306 score.
“We’re all pretty dedicated (to playing)”, said junior Jack Gerborg, who medaled for the second consecutive year, this time with a one-under par 71. “We all practiced together over the summer, and we’re all playing well right now so that’s really helpful.”
As it turned out, the Eagles placed four individuals in the top eight. After Gerborg, Nolan King (73) finished third, Brenton Dill (77) took seventh and Hunter McCourt (78) took eighth. Six golfers teed off for each team, with the four best scores calculated.
“I was hitting the ball really well,” Gerborg said. “I didn’t make as many putts as I had previously, but I was able to make some on the back nine. I drove the ball on the fairway, for the most part, which is very helpful. And I hit a lot of greens, limited my mistakes.”
Thus continued the run for Avon, which has been able to show off its depth in tournament play.
“I attribute (the tourney wins) to their experience from the last two years,” Stevens said. “A couple of these guys have been playing (varsity) since they were freshmen. This is where I expect them to be, though I didn’t expect our newcomers to be so good...We’re in a good place right now. They all practice and play together, so they don’t really need me to tell them anything, except for when the bus is coming.”
The final four team scores were Westlake (331), North Ridgeville (338), Berea-Midpark (381) and North Olmsted (403). Demons junior Will Fankhauser finished second individually with a 72. North Ridgeville junior Ben Lampe tied for eighth with a 78.
Dual matches will be the next step in determining the 2020 SWC champion, and started last week. The SWC Championship will be held at the Legacy Golf Course at Sweetbriar Sept. 24. The Preview and eight-match regular season each count for 30 percent of the overall standings, while the league championship tourney is worth the other 40%.
Bulldogs win girls Preview
On Aug. 19, the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs won the girls SWC Preview, held at Springvale Golf Club in North Olmsted, thanks to a fifth-score tiebreaker.
The teams tied with a 347 cumulative score, but the Bulldogs’ Olivia O’Malley’s 95 beat out the 100 shot by the Eagles’ Cassidy Rudy. Six golfers played the round for each team, but the top four scores were recorded. North Olmsted only traveled two golfers, and its 107 score finished in ninth place.
After Olmsted Falls and Avon, Avon Lake finished third with a 348, Berea-Midpark fourth at 368 and Amherst fifth at 408. Westlake (413), Midview (436) and North Ridgeville (442) rounded out the nine-team field.
Falls’ Alyson Veverka took medalist honors with a 74. Avon’s Aubrie Rush (75) and Ainsley Gilcrist (82) and Avon lake’s Lauren Hawkinson (85) and Maggie Masterson (87) rounded out the top five. Westlake’s Kayla Schuemann (90) tied for seventh.
The SWC Championship will be played Sept. 30 at Sweetbriar’s Legacy Course.
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