WHEELING -The St. Clairsville Red Devils are clearing some additional wall space inside their gymnasium. The Red Devils are bringing home yet another Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship pennant.
St. Clairsville's talented golf team made the Class 4-A tournament held at Oglebay Park's Spiedel Golf Club on the Jones Course, a runaway. En route to claiming the school's 23rd OVAC links title and second in a row, the Red Devils, who boast just one senior, fired a solid 322, which was 18 shots better than runnerup East Liverpool. The Potters produced the tournament's individual champion in Blake Prince, who posted a 78.
While East Liverpool had the individual champion, the Red Devils placed three players on the All-OVAC team and had their fourth scorer miss by just a single shot.
St. Clairsville’s Zach Keylor tracks a tee shot Tuesday.
Photo by Seth Staskey
"We barely squeaked through last year and we left here kind of disappointed in our play, but I am not disappointed at all (Tuesday)," Red Devils coach Rick Oberdick said. ''We had a good team effort, and I think the conditions themselves were worth a couple of strokes because the rough was thick, the wind started gusting and the tees were set well back.''
The Red Devils, who won the Buckeye 8 title last week, got a pick-me-up from junior lefty Adam Jeffries and classmate Jared Burghy, who were playing in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
''We don't have a No. 1, 4 or a 5 or anything,'' Oberdick said. ''They're all 1s and they show that by how they rotate. It's nice because when one of your guys isn't playing as well as he could be, you've always got those other guys coming in.''
Jeffries, who had a tremendous summer of golf on the Top Flite Tour, turned in the low St. C. round of the day with a 79. He found himself in a playoff against Meadowbrook's Matt Miller for runner-up medalist.
After the round, however, Jeffries was kicking himself for posting a double bogey on his final hole of the tournament as well as his first two holes of the event, meaning he played the remaining 15 holes at 2-over-par.
''I was sinking putts when I needed them, but the back nine really hurt me especially a three-hole stretch,'' Jeffries said. ''I was thinking I had to get some birdies to get myself back into it. I knew my teammates would play well, but I had to get it going to do my part. I never dreamt I would have the low round on the team. I expected our first three guys to be in the 70s, so I was just hoping to be right there with them.''
The duo went and played 18 for a second time and both posted a par and headed back to the 18th tee for a third time overall and the second in the playoff.
Both players found the fairway off the tee, but Jeffries second shot found the bunker and he couldn't get up and down for a par. Miller posted a par for the runner-up plaque.
Burghy, who began his round on the backside of the course, went out at 45. However, he scorched the front side, posting a 1-under 35 for a round of 80.
''My driver was good, but I had one really bad hole and took an eight, but after that I was pretty much lights out,'' Burghy said. ''There have been times in the past where I've not recovered well from a bad hole, but this time I was able to come back.''
Senior Brice Holler finished with a solid 81 and earned all-conference.
Junior Zach Keylor, who won the OVAC title as a freshman, just missed all-conference accolades with a round of 82.
However, he produced the shot of the day on the 170-yard Par 3, No. 4. Keylor, who struggled for much of the round by his own admission, sank a hole-in-one, which calls for the players to tee off well above the hole and features a sizeable pond.
The pin was placed in the back left and the ball landed just beyond the cup and trickled into the hole for Keylor's first ace.
''I was shocked because I didn't even realize it went in the hole,'' Keylor said. ''I had to ask (my playing partners) if it actually went in. I just yelled 'be the club' when the ball was in the air, and apparently, it was the club. It was pretty exciting.''
The Devils' fifth was defending OVAC Class 3A champion Caden Myers. He turned in a solid round of 85, which would have been the best on six of the 10 teams in the field.
East Liverpool's Joey Cline and Steubenville's Mike Petrides each checked in with a round of 81.