Michael Stainbrook reports:
Mason and Moeller know all about star power heading into this weekend’s Division I boys’ state golf tournament. But this time, a solitary Comet or a lone Crusader might not be enough to get the job done.
The season finale at the Ohio State University Golf Course will test each team for depth, and only squads capable of producing four low scores have a shot at a state title.
Mason used that formula to take home a district crown last Thursday at Weatherwax Golf Course. All four seniors shot 78 or lower en route to a first-place score of 302. That was only two strokes off its sectional tournament score, but Moeller won the sectional with a remarkable 291 – the second-lowest score in Cincinnati East sectional history, according to tournament officials, as all five Crusaders finished in the 70s.
Each team will rely on its sharpshooter to produce a low score that gives it an edge on the competition. For Moeller coach Rick Bohne, that low score could come from any of his five players. Seniors Andrew Benza and Matthew Wetherill have shot consistently low, and classmate Mason Eckley also is capable.
“I think when you get to state, you need a player to step forward,” Bohne said.
Eckley is the only Crusader with state tournament experience. He played on the senior-laden 2010 team that finished sixth in the state. Moeller once again has plenty of senior leadership as it attempts to shoot low on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
“I think that’s another way that Mason can help our guys,” Bohne said. “He was the new kid, and now he’s the experienced guy.”
The Scarlet Course is a tough task for prep golfers. Redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 2006, the course features deep bunkers, fast greens and plenty of doglegs.
With each shot, players also must handle the pressure of larger crowds and the pursuit of a state title. But even shooting one’s best might not be enough.
“Where will we finish? That’s hard to say,” Bohne said. “There’s no defense in golf.”
Mason also has plenty of senior leadership. Bryan King, Alex Ebel and Brandon Hack each shot a 2-over-par 74 at the district tournament, and classmate PJ Greene (78) was not far behind.
“Our goals are basically to play the golf course the way we script the game plan,” coach Tim Lambert said. “The history of the state tournament has produced some pretty high numbers. If we play well and position the ball properly, success will come our way.”
Amelia senior Jake Brinker qualified as an individual.