COLUMBUS — The third time was finally a charm for Mount Vernon’s Charlie Phillips.
Phillips made it to the state golf tournament his freshman and junior years, just missing being named all-state both times. His senior year, all the hard work finally paid off as Phillips finished third overall and was named first-team all-Ohio.
“It was great. At least I was in contention and that’s the way I wanted to go out — knowing I had a chance,” Phillips said. “I’ll take it, especially the way I felt today.”
Phillips fired a 4-over-par 75 on Saturday despite feeling the effects of a fever he developed late Friday. That, along with the 73 he shot on Friday, gave him a two-round total of 148, which put him in a tie for third with defending state champ Korey Ward of West Chester Lakota West. Michael Ricaurte of St. Charles won the event with a 2-over-par 144 total, while Beau Titsworth of Cleveland St. Ignatius was second at 147.
“That’s a pretty good showing,” said Mount Vernon golf coach Mike Fuller of Phillips’ tournament. “Charlie was not feeling well today, but he came down here and battled, battled, battled. ... He showed a lot of focus, a lot of maturity, a lot of hurt and a lot of guts today. He played outstanding golf for two days.”
“It was fun. At the end I had a lot of fun. I hit it a lot better today. I just made some silly mistakes there at the end,” Phillips said.
A double bogey on the par 5 fourth hole cost Phillips on the front nine Saturday, but he was even on the back side until No. 15. He hit a tree left of the fairway on his drive, but it bounced back into the fairway. From there, though, things kind of unraveled, as he hit his next shot over the green, then couldn’t get up and down for a bogey. A three-putt on the 16th cost him another bogey and then he just missed birdie putts on the final two holes.
“My putting was OK, but I missed two little 3-footers at the end. Nerves got to me a little bit,” Phillips said. “I thought (the pins) were a little easier today, but you still had to place them right. They could hurt you if you didn’t hit the ball in the right spot.
“At the beginning I was hitting them in the right spots and two-putting, making easy pars. The few times I didn’t, it hurt me and that’s where I made my bogeys.”
Phillips’ placing was the best by a Yellow Jacket golfer since Rocky Miller won the state tournament in the mid-1970s.