HINCKLEY, Ohio – Rocky River’s tremendous 2017 season came to an end at waterlogged Pine Hills Golf Club on Wednesday. Four teams would advance in the Northeast District of the Ohio Division I Boys Golf Tournament, but with a seventh-place finish, the Pirates ended up on the outside looking in. [results]
And that outside was a wet one. Playing through rain showers through most of the 18-hole regional qualifier round – one of six such qualifiers around the state –, Rocky River carded a four-man score of 318. The fourth-place-advancing-to-Columbus squad came in seven strokes under that 318-mark.
“The course was soaked,” said Head Coach David Hendrickson whose charges won five tournaments and a third straight Great Lakes Conference title in 2017. “A few of our guys got off to slow starts, and with the rain it was such a battle to regain momentum in their rounds.”
One Pirate player – senior Roni Shin – did more than manage to regain momentum in his round. Shin regained composure after going 4-over through his first seven holes. He battled back to card a 2-over 73 and advance to the state championships which will be held this Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
“I’m so proud of Roni,” said Hendrickson. “His resolve, combined with wonderful talent, is what punched his ticket for Columbus.”
Shin started on the back nine at Pine Hills, and by the time he got to No. 17 tee – his eighth hole of the round — he was 4-over par. No. 17 is where Shin flipped the script. The sweet-swinging senior navigated the 425-yard par-4 in three strokes. He went on to finish his front nine with a 3-over 38. Shin then made par at holes one, two and three before bogeying the lengthy, 215-yard, par-3 fourth. His response was to birdie the final two par-5s on his card; with fours on No. 5 and No. 7. Those birdies bracketed a bogey on No. 6. Shin pulled off a fine up-and-down to notch par on the eighth. On the par-4 ninth – his final hole of the round – Shin hit a marvelous approach shot to 10 feet. He sank the putt to finish off a gutty 1-under 35 on his final nine.
With his 73, Shin finished in a tie for sixth place in individual play. The top four players not on an advancing team qualify for a spot in the state tournament. Shin’s 73 was third-best in that category.
On Rocky River’s team card, Shin was joined by senior Ben Brey (79), freshman Will Bennett (80) and senior Ryan Dunning (86).
Those four, along with sophomore Mac Milenius and senior Matt Willse, constituted a Pirate team that won titles in the GLC Preview (Aug. 11), the Midview Invitational (Sept. 5), the Hoban Invitational (Sept. 11), the St. Edward Invitational (Sept. 16) and the GLC Championship (Sept. 19). In matches, Rocky River went 20-2 overall and 18-0 in conference play. River then advanced to Wednesday’s district final after a runner-up finish in the Oct. 2 sectional tournament.
“It’s been a remarkable run for these guys,” said Hendrickson. “I’m impressed by these young men on and off the course, and I’m proud of our team performance and team unity all season.”
“And,” Hendrickson added, “I’m excited to see Roni close out his career at the state tourney.”
That state title event will be a 36-hole tournament contested Friday and Saturday at the Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course) in Upper Arlington, Ohio.
CANNON FIRE …
WEDNESDAY WINNERS: With a four-man score of 297, Green won Wednesday’s sectional at Pine Hills. Also advancing to Columbus out of a talented field of teams at the Hinckley, Ohio, track – Brunswick (304), Boardman (306), University School (311). The district medalist was sophomore Andrew Kaye of St. Ignatius High School. Kaye carded a 1-under 70.
DYNAMIC DUO: With his 73 on Wednesday, Roni Shin lowered his season scoring average to 75.1. Fellow senior Ben Brej – the 2017 GLC Player of the Year – finished his season with an average of 74.1. In River’s 14 18-hole rounds this season, the pair combined for 28 total rounds in the 70s.
# # # join the battle # # #