BOWLING GREEN — The mark of a a successful golfer is the ability to put bad holes or bad shots behind you and focus on the next shot.
Kalida’s Christian Nartker did this by shaking off a bad start to become Division III district medalist Thursday after firing a 74 at par 72 Stone Ridge Golf Club.
Nartker began the day 3-over par on the first three holes but buckled down to put together a 36 on the front and a 38 on the second nine.
“It was a rough start and I am going to call that the first hole jitters,” said Nartker who doubled bogeyed the first hole. After that I just had to grind it out because it was windy today. Mainly I just try to forget about everything I am doing. I just go up and do it and focus while I’m hitting the ball and then walking from shot to shot and zone out as much as possible.”
Kalida head coach Ken Schnipke praised the efforts of his top golfer.
“Christian was … I don’t know what to say about him,” Schnipke said. “He shot a 74 and it is unreal and low for the tournament. He was 3 over after the third hole and to hold it together and post that score was big. It was big for the team.”
More important to the modest Nartker is that he helped the team making it to state.
“It was everything and I was so happy that we played good enough to make it again,” Nartker said. “All I asked for was for our team to make it one last time while I’m in high school.”
Kalida is going to state for a third straight year after Kalida finished with a team score of 334 which was tied with three other teams. Ottawa-Hills garnered second place and Spencerville, which is also making a return trip to state, took fourth. A fifth-score tiebreaker was used to determine which teams finished second through fourth.
David Peck shot a 94 for Kalida’s fifth score compared to the 108 shot by Spencerville’s Ethan Core.
“It was tough out there today,” Kalida head coach Ken Schnipke said. “The wind picked up especially on the back nine. It was rough and I think the scores showed it.”
“You talk about one stroke all the time with five guys out there and it came down to the fifth person and it makes a difference,” Schnipke said. “One stroke here, one stroke there makes a lot of difference.”
Other Kalida scores were Josh Recker 78, Ryan Klausing 94 and Ale Edelbrock 88.
Spencerville head coach Scott Harmon said the weather played a factor but was happy to see his team grind it out.
“It is awesome ” Harmon said. “We made it last year so we had high expectations coming into the season and it was kind of one the last goals we had and our next step is to finish better than we did last year. It feels good to play another week.”
Like most golfers on the course, Spencerville struggled early due to the windy conditions and a little bit of early tournament jitters but rallied to finish in the top four.
“I think it was nerves from the guys,” Harmon said. “They were a little out of their element and it was windy this morning and a couple of guys started out with a rough two holes but they completely turned it around.”
Leading the Bearcats was Ethan Harmon with a 78 followed by his brother Gavin with an 83. Drake Mertz posted an 86 and Alex Gallman fired an 87.
Minster head coach Jim Stubbs said there was plenty of tough competition and he was happy to see his team come out on top.
“It is always a dogfight and there is some really good competition here,” Stubbs said. “It has been a different four guys scoring for us all year and they have a lot of confidence someone is going to be there to back them up.”
Stubbs added that his linksters focus on the moment and try to stay even keeled.
“These guys are really close to each other and have been playing golf for a long time,” Stubbs said. “I don’t have to tell them when practice is, they are asking me when it is and when I am done they go out for more practice. Their work ethic and commitment to the team is what really sets them apart.”
Wildcat sophomore Joseph Magoto was the top Minster golfer with a 79 followed by Grant Koenig with an 84 and Ethan Lehmkuhl ended up with an 84. Grant Voisard posted an 86.
Coming up short in the team competition was Columbus Grove which fired an 375 and Upper Scioto Valley with a 379. Bulldog Owen Macke shot an 86 followed b y Jacob Oglesbee with an 89. Zac Roberts posted a 99 and Austin Macke fired a 101. For the Rams, Brady Hipsher finished with an 89 followed by Dylan Thompson with a 90. Jared Hunt finished with a 98 and Tyler Gratz ended up with a 102.
Adam Gerker of Delphos St. John’s punched his ticket to Columbus after carding a 78 to be one of four individuals not on a team to make it to state along with St. Henry’s Jack Romer, who shot 79.
“I struggled at the beginning but I really turned it on the back nine and really got it going,” Gerker said.
After missing state last year by a couple of strokes Gerker was motivated to move on.
Other notable scores not making state were Lincolnview’s Ryan Moody with an 88 and Allen East’s Carter Frey with a 95.