UTICA — Joe Metzger of Utica High School has skillfully chipped and putted his way to the 2009 OHSAA Division II State Golf Tournament at the North Star Golf Course in Sunbury this Friday and Saturday.
“It’s been an awesome year,” said Metzger. “I have great teammates. I haven’t had any bad rounds this year.
Metzger qualified for the state tournament by shooting a 76 at the district tournament on Oct. 5.
As the first golfer in recent memory — possibly the first ever — to represent the Redskins at the State Tournament, Metzger will carry much excitement and a great deal of support to the unfamiliar links of the newly constructed North Star course.
“It’s an honor being the first one to go from Utica,” said Metzger. “I just want to win it so I can bring something back to town. I’ve got my whole family coming with me and I’ve got some people coming from the high school.”
The strength of Metzger’s short game may give him an inside track at the new course.
“It possibly could, especially if I’m (driving) badly,” said Metzger.
“I’ve been trying to stress the importance of keeping (the ball) in the fairway,” Utica golf coach Brian White. “I think there are a lot more hazards out there at North Star. He has a strong iron game, so if he can keep his woods in the middle, he’ll be in good shape.”
Of course, nobody else has had very much experience at North Star either. Metzger will get his first chance with most everyone else when he has his practice round today.
“We’ll get a good look at it then,” said White. “It’s not a course that we went and played over the summer or anything like that.”
White, who was impressed with Metzger as a freshman has been rewarded by watching him get to state as a senior.
“Each season, he’s just gotten better and better,” said White. “We saw a lot of potential in him and he has turned it into outstanding scores on the couse as well.”
Tee time for Metzger is 9:48 a.m. on Friday.