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Goodrich, Park Earn OVAC Crowns

Monarchs Finish Second Overall

Photo by Cody Tomer Wheeling Park’s Gavin Goodrich tees off during the OVAC 5A Golf Championship on Thursday at Oglebay’s Jones Course. Goodrich won the event in a playoff hole and Park was the team champion.

WHEELING — Eighteen holes of extremely competitive golf simply weren’t enough to decide Thursday’s OVAC 5A Golf Championship at Oglebay’s Jones Course.

Wheeling Park shot a team score of 324 to capture its fourth OVAC team title in five years and John Marshall was the runner-up with a 345 but a pair of Patriots and one Monarch needed one more hole to decide the individual winner.

When the dust settled, it was Park’s Gavin Goodrich who emerged from the playoff as the OVAC 5A medalist.

Goodrich earned a par on 18 in the playoff to defeat teammate Owen Leary and JM’s Colton Sprowls. All three finished 18 holes with an 80.

Both Leary and Sprowls bogeyed and played another hole for runner-up honors, which was won by Leary.

Luke Marsh of Wheeling Park also made the All-OVAC team with a score of 81, which helped catapult the Patriots to the top spot.

“Gavin was All-OVAC last year so not only did he step it up a notch but he won the whole thing,” Park coach Don Headley said. “He could have won it outright but he three-putted and bogeyed the last hole but he works so hard at this game and I’m so happy for him.

“We had a swimmer (Leary — state champion swimmer in 2020) and a baseball player (Marsh) on the all-tournament team, so we’re pretty tickled. Campbell (Koegler) (83) was one shot away from making the all-tournament team and if he doesn’t bogey 17, he may get on there, too.”

Goodrich — who shot a 76 last year for All-OVAC honors — shot a 41 on the front nine, fired a 39 on the back and stayed locked in and finished strong in the playoff.

“I didn’t have the best drive (in the playoff),” Goodrich said. “I put it in the right rough and the lie was above my feet but my second shot landed 6 feet past the hole. Then, it lipped out on my birdie try. I wanted to birdie there but I was OK with it.

“I shot a 68 here a few nights ago and it was playing like a totally different course (Thursday) but this is a pretty cool feeling and I’ll see if I can do it again next year.”

As for Leary, the state champion swimmer shot one of the best rounds of his life with a 40 on the front and back nines.

“I knew I had a good round going but Gavin has been playing really well all year, so I didn’t think I could match him,” Leary said. “I was happily surprised. Everything was just clicking. My putts were rolling really well and I felt comfortable pretty much everywhere on the golf course.

“My goal wasn’t to come out here and win but it would have been the cherry on top. I’m happy that Gavin won.”

Along with Sprowls’ top score of 80, the Monarchs received standout performances from Ethan Cook (85), Mason Orndorff (87) and Travis DeGarmo (93).

“In 20 years of coaching, it’s been a long road and it’s a great feeling to see it all come to fruition,” JM coach David Gaudino said. “There are a lot of good things going on in our program right now and the kids worked so hard for this. They believe in what we are doing and it’s paying off.

“The big difference (Thursday) was when they had a bad hole, they put it aside and came back to have a good hole afterward.”

Sprowls was dynamite and consistent all day with a 40 on the front and back nines, leading up to the playoff hole.

“I got out of the gate pretty well and was hitting the fairways,” Sprowls said. “My iron game wasn’t bad but I didn’t three-putt all day until the playoff hole. I hit one out on 16 but drained a 20-footer to par and I got par on 17. I’ve never been All-OVAC before so this is an awesome feeling.”

Rounding out the All-OVAC team was Dover’s Carter Begue, who shot an 82 and was sparked by an eagle on No. 14.

New Philadelphia (352), Dover (353), University (356) and Morgantown (358) put forth solid days on the links, as well.

“I would have lost my house if I was a betting man because I thought someone would have broken 80,” Headley said. “Pin placement was tough out here but the course was perfect. Folks here at Oglebay make it special for the kids. It rained hard here last night and the grounds crew did a fabulous job to get it ready.”

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