By Pete Chiodo
GROVE CITY —
GROVE CITY — There weren’t very many earth-shattering scores turned in during the season-opening Mercer County Tee-off Tournament, hosted by Lakeview High School at Pine Grove Golf Course in Grove City on Thursday.
Only two golfers got in under 80. Hickory’s Billy Colbert finished as medalist with a 1-over 73, while runner-up Matt Gordon of Grove City fired a 74 after completing the back nine two strokes under par.
Gordon’s score helped Grove City take top team honors at the tournament with a 343 aggregate. Hickory was second with 347.
Coming in third was Conneaut at 360.
“It’s a good thing this is early in the season,” said Eagles head coach Bob Slevin. “It was a good opportunity to play a good course. The greens were quick. The weather was nice. And the competition was good for them. It gave us a chance to find out where we’re at and where we need to improve.”
The Eagles had a senior and a freshman leading the way. Kyler Betts, a 12th-grade returning all-Region 4 selection, and Randy Santarelli, the 9th-grader, each shot 84s. Cole Baker (a second-team all-region pick in 2012) helped out with an 89. Jake Yeager turned in a 103.
Union City ended up in fourth place with a team score of 371. Returning all-Region 4 golfer Troy Jackson led the Bears with a round of 80. He was just 1-over for the back nine. That score was the third-lowest for the day.
Matt Lowther, another returning all-star for Union City, had a 94. The rest of the Bears scoring golfers were Nate Bailey (97) and Cullen Hornaman (100).
Saegertown finished in fifth as a team, scoring 374 points. Returning all-region golfer Greg Beers led the Panthers with an 83, fourth on the individual leaderboard. Freshman Jake Sada stepped up and turned in an 87. John Adams added a 100 and Joey Boylan scored a 104.
“They played pretty much how I was predicting them to,” said Saegertown head coach Brian Hanley, whose team is coming off a Region 4 championship in 2012, but very little of that team is left intact.
“We only have one starter (Beers) back from last season,” said Hanley. “I had a 9th grader shoot an 87, Jake Sada. For this being his first tournament he played pretty well. But most of my team has never played this course. And it’s a position course. You have to place your ball well here. ... I was pleased with the results, but I wasn’t giddy. I would like to see us more in the low 90s than in the low 100s like they were.”
West Middlesex was sixth (376) and Greenville was seventh (379). Host Lakeview finished in eighth place with a score of 384. The Sailors also had a freshman go low with Chris Palutro turning in an 89. Keith Kepner followed with a 92 and Austin Milliren shot a 96. Kyle McCartney was fourth with a 107.
“We lost a lot from last year,” said Lakeview head coach Ralph Sundelin. “We’re going to be young this year. We’re building for the future.”
Rounding out the team standings was Sharon in ninth (389) and Mercer in 10th (392).