Barnesville Claims 3A Golf Crown

WHEELING — The early returns were encouraging for Payne Johnson on Thursday.

The Barnesville junior was part of the first group to return to the clubhouse at Oglebay’s Crispin Golf Course, which hosted the annual OVAC Class 3A Golf Championships.

Johnson fired a 1-over-par 72, and it jumped off the scoreboard.

It also stood up.

About three hours later, once the final scores were filled in, Johnson was awarded the championship plaque, the spoils of winning the conference’s individual title — his first.

But instead of talking about his own achievements, Johnson focused on his team, which, behind his win, captured the school’s first conference golf title in 35 years and second overall.

Par for the course for the young man, who, by all accounts, is as humble on the greens as off.

“These are my friends,” Johnson smiled, looking in the direction of his teammates after celebratory photos. “I owe it all to them.

“You saw our one through four golfers shot in the 70s. That really takes a lot of pressure off.”

Carter Wells fired a 74 for Barnesville, while Jim Byler and Tyler Willison had a 74 and 77, respectively. Wells and Byler earned all-OVAC accolades.

“They came out and shot as good of a round of golf, collectively, as a team as I’ve ever been associated with,” Barnesville head coach Jerry Robinson stated. “The kids truly won together as a team.”

Linsly, behind all-OVAC honoree Dylan Dunlevy’s 75, was second in the team standings. Magnolia, paced by Trey Blain’s 74, was third.

Blain defeated Wells in a two-hole playoff for runner-up honors.

Buckeye Trail was fourth in the team standings, followed by Fort Frye, Monroe Central and Union Local.

Johnson posted a 78 last season. This year, he carded a pair of birdies, including one to finish his front 9 with a 37.

“That’s really good on this course,” he said. “That really helped carry me into the back 9.”

There, Johnson shot an even 35.

“I just stayed really consistent. I just stuck to my game and didn’t worry about anything else.

“When I came in (Thursday), I just tried to focus on playing the game. The last couple of matches I struggled a bit. So I just wanted to play and not get upset over every small thing. I feel like I did that really well.

“I was very happy with the way I played.”

Robinson was pleased with his entire team, and hopes it will serve as a springboard to success come the postseason.

“I couldn’t me more proud of a group of kids,” he said. “We came so close last year the kids could taste it. That was a goal we set at the beginning of the year.

“I challenged the kids at the beginning of the season that if you can win an OVAC championship you’ll go down in school history.”

Consider history written.

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