COLUMBUS — Elida’s Ethan Harmon posted a 73 and found himself in fifth place on the first day of competition at the Division I state boys tournament as the senior standout had little trouble Friday with the always challenging Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course.
Unfortunately for his teammates, they cannot say the same.
The Bulldogs shot a 333 and that puts them in ninth place overall. No. 2 player Gavin Harmon carded an 83, followed by Carson Harmon with an 85. Hunter Jolliff finished with a 92 and Riley Creps came in with a 97.
Dubin Jerome is leading the way with a team score of 309. Akron Archbishop Hoban is second with a 310 followed by Lakota East’s 314. Rounding out the the top five, Powell Olentangy Liberty was tied for fourth with Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller at 317. The rest of the field was Cincinnati St. Xavier (320), Cleveland St. Ignatius (322), Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (327), Elida (333), Brunswick (339), AShland (349) and Dover (357).
Ethan Harmon said he stayed in his game and that was one of the keys to conquering the Scarlet course especially the unforgiving and deceptive greens.
“I feel great,” Ethan Harmon said. “I had trouble with my tee shots but on the back nine I started turning it around. I got a better tempo and started to focus. My alignment was a lot better, and I just hit it straighter.”
Ethan Harmon said he dealt with the greens by hitting it nice and firm and not crushing the putt.
Green’s Maxwell Moldovan was the top linkster on the day after firing a 69. Uniontown Lake’s Alex Anderson, Dublin Jerome’s Tyler Groomes and Akron Archbishop Hoban’s Solomon Petrie are all tied for second with a 70.
Going into Saturday, Ethan Harmon said he wanted to do what he does best, find a nice tempo, and get a good night sleep.
Elida head coach Dennis Thompson said mental breakdowns on the back nine can be attributed to the high scores.
Thompson said the team started out strong and posted a 161 on the front nine. However, the course and the pressure began to take its toll on the the second nine.
“We actually beat ourselves mentally on the back,” Thompson said. “On the front we were pretty solid and were really in pretty good position but then on the back, shots didn’t go like they wanted to and they didn’t fight through them mentally, and they let a couple of things affect them the next two or three holes, and you can’t do that at this level on this course.”
Thompson pointed out to his golfers that this is a 36-hole event and that even though you have a couple of bad holes, you have the opportunity to make those up on later holes over the course of the two days.
“We have a lot of golf to play, and I think we are in a position if we can play well tomorrow we can make the top half,” Thompson said. “I was hoping to be closer to a 320, and it probably should have been if we would have fought harder mentally through some of the holes. I am not totally displeased with 333 but after shooting a 161 I was hoping for a better score.”
Thompson praised the efforts of Ethan Harmon.
“He was really tuned in especially on the back,” Thompson said.
Gavin Harmon, disappointed with his number, said he didn’t have things bounce his way.
“I struggled,” Gavin Harmon said. “The greens were tough, and I hit some terrible shots. I will work on it tomorrow and hopefully get some of those approach shots closer. My seconds shots could have been a lot better.”
For the three newcomers to state, Carson Harmon, Creps and Jolliff, all agreed that the Scarlet course was definitely a challenge physically and mentally.
“The course was pretty difficult today,” Creps said. “Today I got myself into some bad situations and had way too many strokes than I wanted to.”
Jolliff said he battled the greens all day.
“They mowed the greens this morning and rolled them so they were pretty tough,” Jolliff said. “I was hitting the green but they weren’t sticking. The front nine I played pretty well. I shot a 43 but on the back nine, my driver and everything off the tee started getting a little rough so it put me in bad positions so I couldn’t even make the greens.”
Carson Harmon said he had a lot of unlucky breaks and said the greens were difficult to read.
“The greens are just crazy,” Carson Harmon said. “They are an illusion. You don’t know how to read them. If you lived here you could probably eventually figure them out.”
When asked what he needed to do to improve on day two, Carson Harmon’s answer was honest.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I hit a shot in the bunker and I don’t know where it went. I think somebody picked it up or something. It just disappeared.”
Adding to the pressure was the fact that Elida was paired with Dublin Jerome and St. Ignatius, two of the top teams in the state.
“This is the best competition we have seen this whole entire year. Their five man shoots just like our one man shoots,” Creps said.