By RYAN BUCK
Logan Beechy has spent four years in pursuit of a goal.
In three previous tries, the senior from Newton Falls came up short.
But on Tuesday at Windmill Lakes Golf Club, Beechy came through in the biggest event of his high school career. He fired a 3-over par 73 in the Division II boys district golf tournament and qualified for the state tournament Oct. 12-13 at The Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course.
“It’s my senior year, so I definitely wanted to go to state,” said Beechy, who finished second to Canton Central Catholic’s Adam Mallette (72) . “I’ve been wanting to ever since I was a freshman, but had some problems.”
Beechy’s accuracy off the tee, admittedly not always precise, was crucial as Windmill Lakes was soaked with morning rain.
“A lot of times I can’t get myself in play, in order to proceed, and today I hit almost every fairway,” Beechy said. “Then I progressed and put it on the green, just two-putted and made my way around the course.”
The rain made conditions difficult early in the morning, but Beechy scrambled his way to a strong start to the round.
“The first two I got away with pars on,” he said. “That got me going because I was struggling. That opened the door for me.”
Poland’s Mark Passarello wasn’t far behind. Passarello, a sophomore, posted a 4-over 74 to qualify for state.
“To control the nerves and his golf game as well, playing as well as he did today with a 74, I think it’s quite an accomplishment,” Poland coach Dave Digiacomo said. “He’s a laid-back kid. He takes things as they come and I think that’s a great attitude, especially when you play this game.”
Clutch putts early in his round set the tone for a good score.
“The first few holes I made three 40-footers for par,” Passarello said. “That really saved me. Through the beginning it was a scramble the first five or six holes, and the rest I started to get my swing better.”
As a team, Poland missed a trip to Columbus by two strokes. Passarello would’ve liked his teammates at his side.
Girard also narrowly missed out on the top four scores needed to qualify with a 328 aggregate. The Indians struggled on Windmill Lakes’ greens, ending an unprecedented season for the program.
“Our kids were hitting the ball well, it’s just once they got to the greens, we just couldn’t get the speeds down,” Girard coach Josh Marsh said. “Out of our five guys I had 14 three-putts. That’s 14 strokes right there. I’m proud of them, though. They played well all year long. I’m happy for the guys that put Girard golf out there on the map.”