When the Tyler Consolidated High School and Middle School Golf Teams began practice seven weeks ago in August, there was no guarantee that they would be able to complete their seasons in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the high school team was able to play in all of their matches that were not cancelled by rain, and the middle school team missed only one match during the time that the school was closed for a positive COVID-19 individual.
Both teams ended their season with a match last week, as the high school team competed in the regional tournament on Monday, and the middle school team traveled to St. Marys on Wednesday.
The TCHS Knights made an early-morning trip to the Crispin Golf Course in Oglebay Park, Wheeling, on Monday, September 28, for the Region I Single-A Golf Tournament. Fairways on the course were burned out in many places from the hot and dry summer, but the weather was good at the regionals as the Knights beat rival Magnolia to finish in sixth place out of seven teams.
Defending state champion St. Marys garnered the win again and a return trip to the state tournament, along with the team from Williamstown. Individual players from Wheeling Central and Parkersburg Catholic also earned a spot at states.
Team scores were: St. Marys – 222; Williamstown – 227; Wheeling Central – 229; Ritchie – 237; Parkersburg Catholic – 259; TYLER – 267; and Magnolia – 272.
The medalist for the tournament was Justin Doeer of Wheeling Central, who fired an impressive five-under par, 66, on his home course to advance to the state level. Also advancing was Blake Lewis of Parkersburg Catholic, who shot one over par, 72.
Two other players on advancing teams shot sub-par rounds, including Brandon Lawhon of St. Marys – 67, and Xavier Caruthers of Williamstown – 69.
For the TCHS Knights, Landen Miller led the way with his round of 46/38 = 84. He was backed up by Mason Nichols with 41/44 = 85; Chandler Ash with 48/50 = 98; and Isaac Melvin with 58/53 = 111.
Paden City individuals included Will McGinnis (63/47 = 110) and Liam Clements (68/58 = 126).
Senior Captain Isaac Melvin reflected on his final regional appearance: “Regionals was a good way to end our season. We didn’t come in first, but we beat Magnolia so we didn’t come in last.”
Landen Miller felt that his low score for the team should have been even lower: “I didn’t start good at all. On the first hole I lost my ball and had to hit another. I ended up shooting a 43 on the front nine, which was not a good score. But on the back nine I did better as I shot a 38.”
Mason Nichols also thought that his round could have been several strokes better: “I was hitting my drives fairly well, putting them in the spots where they needed to go. But I missed a few greens that I should have hit, costing me extra strokes. My overall score wasn’t terrible but the level of competition was outstanding.”
The fourth Knight golfer, Chandler Ash, commented on the fast greens: “The greens were really fast compared to what I am used to. That really raised my score, but it was a good experience.”
“We knew going in that most of the teams had some really solid players,” said Coach Joe Griffith. “St. Marys had everyone back from last year’s state champion team. And when other teams have players shooting under par, we were not able to match that this year.
“But we will lose only Isaac Melvin to graduation. It has been great having him as part of the team for the past seven years,” added Griffith. “It has been good to see the progress he has made in his golf game, even while splitting time with marching band. We will miss him on the team next year.”
A couple of the players who will return next year commented on their plans for the off-season. Mason Nichols noted that, “I play in golf tournaments throughout the summer which I think makes a big difference. I’m looking forward to next year.”
Freshman Samantha Melvin was pleased with her first year of golf: “Overall my first season was great. I met a lot of nice people, and every match/practice I learned something new. I am keen to see what next year brings!”
The TCHS Knights Golf Team finishes a COVID-19 shortened season with an overall record of 17-34.
The middle school golfers also ended their season last week, as they traveled to the St. Marys Golf Course on Wednesday, September 30 to take on Pleasants County Middle and Hamilton Middle on a very windy afternoon.
Pleasants County easily outpaced the other two teams, taking the victory by 31 strokes. Team scores were: Pleasants County – 166; Hamilton – 197; and TYLER Middle – 205. Medalist for the match was Trent Renner of Pleasants, who shot six over par from the gold tees, 38.
For Tyler Middle, Trenton Webster once again led the way with his round of 48. Other scores included Luke Deaton – 51; John Mace – 53; Cole Moore – 53; Colby Nichols – 54; Mason Clayton – 54; Cooper Clayton – 55; Morgan Fisher – 61; and Jackson Smith – 63.
Webster felt the breezy day had an impact on his game: “The wind messed with me a good bit this evening but I ended up golfing pretty well. I hate to see the season end; I have had a lot of fun in middle school golf, and I am excited to come back stronger next year for my first year of high school golf.”
Luke Deaton also felt his score could have been better: “I was hoping to end the season with a better score but overall, I am pleased with the way I have improved this year.”
And Colby Nichols said that, “I was happy with my drives but I need to work more on my short game. This year has been good and fun.”
Coach David Tucker reflected on the five eighth graders who will move on to the high school level next year: “They are a group of really good kids that are enjoyable to coach. I am looking forward to continuing to work with them over the next four years.”
The TCMS Golf Team finished their season shortened by the pandemic with a final record of 2-7.