Eyster finishes runner-up at OVAC
WHEELING, W.Va. — St. Clairsville believed it was the clear favorite for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A Golf Championship.
After all, the classification is primarily made up of the Buckeye 8 membership which the Red Devils soundly defeated over two rounds last month at Cadiz and Belmont Hills Country Clubs.
However, coach Ryan Clifford also knows that golf can be a fickle game, so he made sure he had his team as prepared for the challenging, par 71 Jones Course at Oglebay Park’s Spiedel Golf Club as he possibly could.
In the days and weeks leading up to Tuesday’s tournament, the Red Devils have competed or held practice rounds on the course as many as five times. It paid dividends, too.
St. Clairsville produced two of the top three individual scores in the tournament and posted an impressive 320 total en route to claiming the school’s 25th conference title by 44 shots over defending champion Beaver Local.
“We’ve pretty much camped out here (at Oglebay) for the past month,” Clifford said. “We made it a point to get down here and be prepared and the kids played really well today.”
All told, the Red Devils team score included a 76, 78, 82 and an 84.
“It’s pretty good team golf when you throw out an 85,” Clifford said. “Shooting a 320 on this course is hard to do. It’s definitely the best score we’ve had here all season.”
The Red Devils were led by senior standout Will Foster, who finished with a 5-over, 76. He shot an even, 36, on the front side of the course.
The individual championship marks his first conference title.
“One of my goals was to win this or the Buckeye 8,” Foster said. “I’ve been chasing this and to win it is great.”
During a quadrangular match last week against the likes of Wheeling Park, Dover and New Philadelphia, Foster had a round to forget. He lost six balls and finished with a score that St. C. didn’t even count toward its team total.
“My mindset coming down here (Tuesday) was new day, new round,” Foster admitted.
After his solid front side of the course, Foster admitted he played more cautiously on the backside, where several danger spots lurk.
“I just wanted to play under control, knowing that 40 or 41 wouldn’t be bad,” Foster said. “I gave a stroke away on 15, but I really didn’t get in any bad spots (on the back 9), which was good for me.”
While Foster grasped the championship plaque, he watched nervously as his brother — Brodi — took part in a one-hole playoff against Beaver Local’s Luke Eyster, who was the defending champion, for the runner-up award.
Eyster ended up winning that, but it certainly didn’t detract from the round the young Foster put forth, which included a 39 on both sides of the course.
Following Eyster for the Beavers were Sky Pappas with an 83, Logan Ours 90 and Mike McKenzie 113.
East Liverpool finished fourth in the team standings with a 378. For the Potters, Nathan Kelly shot an 83, Jake Smith 93, Paxton Grimes 98 and Aaron Dieringer 104.
The All-OVAC team, which consists of the top five and ties, also included Union Local junior Beezer Porter, who had a round that included two eagles and Cambridge’s Adam Smith. Both signed for a 79.
Ohio Valley Athletic Conference
At Oglebay Park Jones Course: Par 71)
1. Will Foster (St. Clairsville) 76
2. Luke Eyster (Beaver Local) 78 (took runner-up on first playoff hole)
3. Brodi Foster (St. Clairsville) 78
4. Beezer Porter (Union Local) 79
4. Adam Smith (Cambridge) 79
(* Won Runner-up Medalist on first playoff hole)
1. St. Clairsville (320): Will Foster 76, Brodi Foster 78, Saul Crisi 82, Andrew Abel 84.
2. Beaver Local (364)– Luke Eyster 78, Sky Pappas 83, Logan Ours 90, Mike McKenzie 113.
3. Cambridge (371)– Adam Smith 79, Bradyn Gregg 92, Jackson Reed 93, Aiden Castello, 107.
4. East Liverpool (378)– Nathan Kelly 83, Jake Smith 93, Paxton Grimes 98, Aaron Dieringer 104.
5. Harrison Central (387)– Aiden Sliva 88, Nash Roberts 95, Heath Clay 97, Wyatt Foreman 107.
6. Indian Creek (397) — Noah Tweedy 87, Like Merriman 88, Connor Garbade 105, Logan Kuczykowski 117.
7. Union Local (410) — Beezer Porter 79, Rylan Luyster 109, Lee Adkins 110, Sean Alkire 112.
8. Oak Glen (420) — Brady Chaney 98, Logan Weekley 101, Caleb Lang 106, Seanessy Adkins 115.
9. Edison (458) — Zoe Shell 100, Nicole Zullo 117, Tristin Arnold 120, Ryan Dinger 121.
10. Weir (505) — Jude Smith 90, Jake Bostaph 109, Zion Spencer 142, Mason Drobish 164.