MOUNT VERNON — At this point in the high school golf season, the game is a matter of survival of the fittest. Scores don’t matter as much as finishing ahead of your competition does.
The Mount Vernon High School boys golf team had an off day, but was still good enough to advance to the district tournament next week at Apple Valley. The Yellow Jackets finished second at the Division I Sectional Tournament at Granville Golf Course on Tuesday, shooting a 318. St. Charles won the tournament with a 303, and Watkins Memorial advanced in third with a 323.
“Today was about advancing to next week’s district tournament; we were just trying to get first, second or third because the top three advance,” said Mount Vernon coach Mike Fuller. “That was our goal. The score was probably a little high, but it was not a bad day overall.
“Our mentality was to play the course and do the best we could. We weren’t worried about the rest of the field. The top 10 teams in the Central District were split up over three sites, and there were three of the top 10 in our district. The next ranked team was 22nd, so there wasn’t a lot of competition. We just knew we had to be in the top three and that’s what we did.”
Mount Vernon senior T.T. Crouch shot an even-par 71 to earn medalist honors on the day. His performance also solidified the Jackets’ finish.
“T.T. was very, very consistent,” Fuller said. “He had 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey. He was very steady. He was confident going in just as he has been confident all year.”
The rest of the Mount Vernon squad put in good days, though, their scores were a littler high. Junior Charlie Phillips, who was coming off a round of 68 on Saturday, came into the clubhouse with a 78. Brody Harwell fired an 82; Zach Harris shot an 87; and Dominic DiGuilio carded an 89.
“Charlie wasn’t happy with his round because he shot a 78, which was 7-over par,” said Fuller. “Coming into today, he was 6-over for the year, so he was disappointed. He is a competitor and a player, and I would bet that he will score much better at Apple Valley. He’ll turn it around.
“Brody was his consistent self. He’s been right around 80 all year and came in at 82 today,” Fuller added. “He has a couple of bad approach shots, which cost him a couple of strokes or else he could have shot 78. Zach came in with an 87, and he was disappointed with himself after the last couple of matches. Dom had a rough day, and just couldn’t get it going. He battled all day. Overall, those were pretty good scores.”
Despite their off day, the Jackets advance to their third Division I District Tournament in a row. They have finished fourth in each of the last two years at Apple Valley Golf Course, so Fuller is hoping his team can get ovet the hump and leave their mark on the field.
“Over the years, Apple Valley has proved to be a tough course,” said Fuller. “The last two years, we finished fourth overall and haven’t really played bad. It seems like we have one hole where it costs us a shot at getting to state, but overall, we’ve played it pretty well. We’ve been under 310 the last two years. We’re going to go out (today) and Thursday and play nine holes (at Apple Valley). Then Saturday, we are going to play 18 holes, and Monday, we’ll get some practice in for Tuesday.
“I think we know what it takes. T.T. and Charlie have both been to state individually, and they want to go back as a team. They’ve been talking to the guys. We haven’t been there as a team since 1978 or ’79, so it would be nice if we could make some history of our own. That’s the thing about golf — you just have to play good on a given day.”
The Division I District Tournament will be played on Tuesday at Apple Valley.