MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon golf team kicked off the season by hosting some of the top golfers in the state.
The young Yellow Jackets got some hard lessons Monday during the Mount Vernon Invitational, finishing 15th out of 18 teams at the Mount Vernon Country Club. The Jackets shot 340 as a team on the tough Country Club layout.
“This course can hurt you quite a bit if you don’t hit it straight and your putting is off a bit,” said Mount Vernon coach Mike Fuller. “This was our first team event and we were nervous. For three of our five, it’s their first varsity tournament. Plus, it’s at home, so you put more pressure on yourself. We struggled a bit today.”
Pickerington North blistered the course for a 294 team total to win the event. New Albany was second at 300, followed closely behind by Upper Arlington at 301 and Cincinnati St. Xavier at 302. Upper Arlington’s Seth Brenneman won individual medalist honors with a two-under-par 70.
The Yellow Jackets got some good individual scores, led by Justin Fairchild. The junior fired an eight-over-par 80 despite being incurring a couple of penalties.
“It was not my best (round). I had a few penalties that were my own fault,” Fairchild said. “I hit some good approach shots and putted well. It was just the mental errors that cost me.”
Those short shots were never more apparent than on 16 and 17. After a nice drive on 16, Fairchild hit his wedge shot to about 2 feet, making a birdie. He followed that up by nearly holing out his tee shot on the par 3 17th hole. The ball landed just a few inches from the cup on the fly, but spun back to about 10 feet and he was unable to sink his second straight birdie.
“It was pretty exciting (nearly holing out). The shot felt real good,” Fairchild said. “The greens were a little faster than usual. It’s definitely an advantage knowing the greens here. They were just cut, so they were a lot faster, though. I think I putted pretty well.”
Mount Vernon also got an 82 from sophomore Robert Williams and an 86 from Chase Springer. Nick Hoar followed up with a 92 and Luke Earnest shot a 104.
“Our experienced guys shot OK. I’m not really unhappy with that,” Fuller said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better. Every year that’s our goal. We’ll get better.”
Fuller felt the fast greens at the country club were a bit of an issue for the Jackets.