Unseasonably cold weather, challenging pin placements and the overall toughness of the Ohio State University golf courses proved difficult for three local players in the first round of the Division II State Championships on Friday.
They were not alone on a blustery day that wasn’t conducive to low scorss.
Newton Falls’ Logan Beechy and Poland’s Mark Passarello were within a shot of each one another after one round of the boys event at OSU’s Scarlet Course. Beechy, a senior, shot a 14-over par 86 and Passarello, a sophomore, had a 15-over par 87.
“Logan had 35 putts, which is way above average for him,” Newton Falls coach Scott Kernen said. “The conditions were extremely tough. It was about 45 degrees with a heavy north wind.”
Kernen said Beechy also spent some time in some of the greenside bunkers that pepper the Scarlet course.
“There was tons of sand,” Beechy said. “The greens had lots of breaks and they were very sloped.”
Beechy is looking forward to better weather and a lower score today.
“It’s going to be a little easier and more smooth,” he said. “I’m going to go 100 percent on the last day and just enjoy Columbus and the Ohio State State University course.”
Poland coach Dave Digiacomo said the pin placements were “tough,” but that Passarello rallied late and finished with his group’s only birdie of the first round.
“If that’s the setup for tomorrow, I think we’ll be in good shape,” Digiacomo said.
Passarello said his short game was an issue.
“I definitely want to adjust my approach shots to the green,” he said. “My tee shots were fine, but I left myself in bad positions with my approaches, which got me in trouble.”
Poland junior Rachel Sines shot a first-round 90 in the Division II girls tournament at OSU’s Gray Course. Conditions there were understandably similar.
“It’s all about placing the ball and my short game was a little off,” Sines said. “I definitely hope to have a better day tomorrow and forget everything that happened today. It’s a new day and a new start.”
Bulldogs coach Judy Young, like Digiacomo, said pin placements played a pivotal role in higher scores across the board.
“Nobody was able to get into a rhythm,” Young said. “Rachel is ready to go. I know she can putt better than that and I know she can play better than that.”
DIVISION III BOYS
Warren JFK’s boys team and Leetonia senior Luke Janci also had their problems in the cold and wind at the North Star Golf Resort.
The Eagles shot a first-round 345, which has them ninth among 12 teams entering today’s action.
“No excuses,” JFK coach Jim St. George said. “We didn’t shoot our number, but it’s 36-hole tournament. We’ll be positive and we’ll come back.”
Senior James LaPolla led JFK with an 83.
Ryan Fowler (84) bounced back from a 46 on the back nine, where he started, to a 38 on the front. Billy Phillips (86), Stephen Macali (92) and Daniel LaPolla (96) also competed.
Janci shot an 84, but his score was inflated by a 9 on No. 18.
“It went all right,” he said. “I had a couple of tough holes. I was hitting the ball well, but I messed up the last hole.”
Leetonia coach Jim DiJane said Janci didn’t putt as well as he normally does.
“He hit the ball very well, but you need to get some breaks,” DiJane said. “You’ve got to make a couple putts.”