|Fitch joins old hats Kalida and Ottoville in District golf|
|Friday, September 27, 2013 12:07 AM|
By Charlie Warnimont
A shoulder injury forced him off the football field and onto the golf course. Little did he know the move would be a good one as Fitch was one of four individual qualifiers to advance from the Division III sectional tournament at the Auglaize Golf Thursday.
Team wise, Kalida and Ottoville are catching fire as they shot their best rounds of the season to finish one-two in the sectional. Tinora was the third team to advance from the sectional.
Fitch, along with the Wildcats and Big Green, advance to the Division III district tournament in Bowling Green next Thursday at the Stone Ridge Golf Course. The district tournament starts at 8:30 a.m.
Fitch was a physical player for the Jefferson football on the gridiron and had some of that same mentality when he moved to the golf course. But having played a full season of varsity golf, Fitch’s game has improved to the point where he shot an 83 Thursday to not only lead the Wildcat squad but sneak in as the third individual not on a qualifying team.
“He has gradually gotten better,” Jefferson coach Chad Brinkman said. “He shot 39 Wednesday in a practice round and he went out today and he did it. He is very happy, very pleased. He came in as a rough diamond. He was a physical player on the football field and he is a very physical golfer. He had to learn to kind of find some technique. He is starting to find those subtle things that help you from one sport to another.”
Jefferson was one of the first teams to finish and Fitch had to wait through some anxious moments as other scores were being posted to see if his round would hold up.
“You could see the nerves,” Brinkman said. “Being his first year may have helped him, not knowing what to expect. He just went out and played and it showed in his score.”
As a team, Jefferson finished with a 356 team score for sixth place. Carter Mox finished with an 88, Zack Wannemacher had a 91 and Ryan Bullinger had a 94. Tyler Rice finished with a 107.
While Fitch will be new the district tournament, Kalida and Ottoville are old hats to the district scene as they played in the districts last year. And the two teams appear to be playing their best golf as they advance in the tournament, having shot their best rounds of the year Thursday.
Kalida won the sectional with a 318, while Ottoville rebounded from a poor showing in the Putnam County League tournament to shoot a 328. Tinora finished third with a 343.
The Wildcats played well in their practice round Sunday at Auglaize and followed that up with a solid showing in the sectional.
“I don’t know what to say, they played some unreal golf, one through five,” Kalida coach Ken Schnipke said. “We threw out an 87. We had three scores in the 70’s, that’s unreal. For us this year with no seniors, it’s unreal to shoot a 318. In my wildest dreams I was hoping we’d come in below 330. They just hung in there and did what they had to do. They didn’t let anything bother them.. They stayed focused and came out here and played golf.”
The Wildcats were led by freshman Jeff Knueve with a 77, while juniors Zach Erhart and Brady Mathew both had a 78. Freshman Trent Siebeneck shot an 85 and sophomore Evan Recker had an 87. Siebeneck was new to the lineup Thursday but the move paid off for the veteran Kalida coach.
“I was hoping no one would see that,” Schnipke said of the lineup change. “We played the Paulding Invitational here and the practice round and he (Trent) shot better than the kid that was second team PCL Monday. I just went with him. Their scores are so close, I felt I’d give each one of them a chance and see what they did. I got lucky, it paid off.”
At the PCL tournament Monday, the Ottoville golf team finished sixth in playing one of their worst rounds of the season. But with the season on the line, the Big Green turned the tables, shooting their best 18-hole score of the season.
“It absolutely was a great day,” Ottoville coach Jim Brown said. “Those kids showed a lot of resiliency to bounce back. To say we performed poorly Monday is an understatement and for them to stick it out, come in here, bear down and play some good golf is great. It was the best we have played all year. It shows a lot of class from those kids.”
The Big Green were led by junior Wesley Markward with an even par round of 72, which was the low score of the day by a stroke. Senior Luke Schimmoeller had an 82, while senior Matt Turnwald had an 86 and sophomore Brendan Schnipke with an 88. Senior Ryan Kemper had a 110 for the Big Green.
“It’s all confidence,” Brown said. “When things went bad Monday, the wheels just seemed to fall off and I talked to them about it Tuesday and Wednesday, about being confident. They are good enough to play here and we are a good enough team to play well. It was just all about confidence. Just hitting shots you want to hit and putts you want to hit.”
Connor Lautzenheiser had an 85 to lead Crestview, while Jake Mengerink had a 91, Ronnie Schumm a 103 and Jon Germann a 97. Cain Lautzenheiser finished with a 105.
Ryan Rau led Fort Jennings with an 88, while Luke Luebrecht had a 90, Sam Vetter a 92 and Nate German a 98. Alex Sealts had a 104.
TJ Hoersten led St. John’s with an 86 and Austin Lucas had a 91. JR Keirns and Brandon Slate had 102s and Nate Leathers a 121. The Blue Jays finished 11th in the 13 team field.
Ayersville’s Matt Engel advanced as an individual with a 73. Leipsic had two players advance in Emilleo Guerra with an 80 and Neil Haselman with an 84.
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1. Kalida 318; 2. Ottoville 328; 3. Tinora 347; 4. Ayersville 347; 5. Leipsic 347; 6. Jefferson 356; 7. Wayne Trace 359; 8. Crestview 365; 9. Fort Jennings 368; 10. Fairview 380; 11. St. John’s 383; 12. Antwerp 407; 13. Pettisville 435.