MOUNT VERNON — Tuesday’s cool temperatures and windy conditions led to some higher scores at the Division I District golf tournament at Apple Valley Golf Course. Unfortunately for the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets, that didn’t play into their hands.
Mount Vernon too had an off day and finished fifth overall in the tournament field. St. Charles shot a 306 to claim first place, and Dublin Jerome (310) and Dublin Coffman (313) followed to take the final two state tournament spots. Watkins Memorial finished fourth (317) and the Jackets followed (318). Marietta took sixth (327), Upper Arlington seventh (329), Olentangy Liberty eighth (332), Pickerington Central ninth (341) and Westerville North 10th (349). Dublin Scioto (353) and Athens (312) rounded out the field.
“We’ve been disappointed before,” said Mount Vernon coach Mike Fuller. “The last three or four years, we’ve been fourth or fifth by just a couple of shots and missed qualifying for the state tournament. Now, we’re disappointed again. I feel bad for our team. This year, we had a great year and were one of the top three seeds in the district, but the conditions were unbelievable today. Our kids battled the whole day, but we just didn’t get it done.”
The bright spot for the Jackets was junior Charlie Phillips. Phillips was solid on both the front and back of the course (35-35), carding a 70 for medalist honors. Dublin Jerome’s Logan Jones was the medalist runner-up with a 71.
“Charlie had an unbelievable round in these conditions,” Fuller said. “The course was really tough. ... He just went out there and tore the course apart today. It probably played 7,500 or 7,600 yards today, and he shot 2-under par. I’m very proud of him. He has worked so hard and has a lot of natural talent.”
“I’ve been struggling with hitting the ball lately, but I worked on it last night and got it together,” said Phillips. “I was able to post a good number. ... The course was playing a lot longer than what it really is because of the weather. ... I wish our team could have went, but it is nice to make it.”
Mount Vernon senior T.T. Crouch struggled from the start of Tuesday’s round, and the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division Player of the Year finished with a 79. Crouch shot a 42 on the back nine before rebounding with a 37 on the front. It was that 42, however, that took him out of state contention.
“T.T. just got off to a bad start,” said Fuller. “He three-putted the first four greens. A lot of kids, and a lot of adults for that matter, would have given up, but he didn’t. He battled, so that tells you what kind of character he’s got, the kind of kid he is. He’s got a great future ahead of him. He just didn’t play good on one day. It is not going to define him; it’s not going to define his career. He’s had an unbelievable career at Mount Vernon. He is just a quality, quality person.”
Brody Harwell put in another solid round as the Jackets’ No. 3 man. Harwell shot an 83 (42-41), which is right around his season average. Senior Zach Harris carded an 87 in the fourth spot, and Matt O’Hara finished with an 86.
“Our scores weren’t bad at all,” said Fuller. “Brody has been really consistent all year, and was again. My four and five guys, with today’s conditions, shot an 87 and an 86. On a normal day, you’re probably looking at an 82 or 83.”
Joining Phillips at state as an individual will be Watkins Memorial’s Corey Weisenstein and Matt Kaido of Tri-Valley. Each fired a 77. For Phillips, this will be his second state tournament appearance, which Fuller believes will translate on the course.
“He knows the course,” said Fuller. “He was there as a freshman, and played really well. Then he came down and watched T.T. last year. Now, we’ll go back down and play a practice round next week, and he’ll get back in it. It would not surprise me to see him do very well.”
“My experience will help me a lot,” Phillips said. “I played there in a tournament this summer too. I’m a lot more confident than I was the last time I was there. ... I’m playing a lot better now.”