Meadville Tribune

Sports

October 10, 2012

H.S. GOLF: Rinker claims district crown with 2-over 74

GROVE CITY — Slippery Rock’s Brett Rinker admits he felt a little pressure.

For the first three years of his high school golf career he had managed to advance out of districts all three times.

However, with the PIAA splitting golf into two classifications (Class AAA and Class AA), and with District 10 advancing just two Class AAA golfers to the West Regional; the window of opportunity for Rinker and every other triple-A golfer became brutally narrow.

So, Rinker just went out and won the darn thing.

The Rockets’ senior fired a 2-over-par 74 at the Grove City Country Club, leading both classifications at the District 10 Individual Championships, which were held on Tuesday.

“I knew that if I stuck to my game plan I’d be all right,” said Rinker. “And if two other people beat me, then so be it.”

It was Rinker’s first championship. As a freshman, he lost the title in a three-way playoff with McDowell’s Austin Romeo and Cathedral Prep’s Greg Podufal.

“I started off struggling a little bit and got it together towards the middle of the round and finished with a bogey on 17,” Rinker said about yesterday’s event. “But overall, I finished with a 74. I was beating the kids I was playing with, so I thought 74 would get me in the top two at least.”

The conditions were far from perfect. In fact, the match was delayed by an hour due to frost on the course.

“Obviously you had to hit fairways because you couldn’t move it in the rough,” Rinker said. “And some of the pin placements today were really tough. There were some spots where you just try to get below the hole and give yourself an uphill putt.”

Joining Rinker at the Class AAA Regional, which is Monday in Blairsville at Chestnut Ridge Resort’s Tom’s Run course, will be Strong Vincent’s John Fosco, who finished second with a round of 77.

And with the first split in classifications came the first victim of District 10’s harsh triple-A cut-off. That would be Meadville freshman Zack Ford.

Ford shot a 6-over-par 78 on the day. That was the third-best round on the course on Tuesday. But it was one stroke away from the Class AAA regional tournament.

“He played great,” said Meadville head coach Fred Garvey Jr. “There were four scores under 80. He hit 78 as a freshman. He played great. He has nothing to be ashamed of.”

Also participating from Meadville was Charlie Holt, who finished eighth with an 83. Dalton Zelasco finished tied for 12th with an 88.

Meadville — the District 10 Class AAA team champion —  has one more match to show what its got. On Friday, the Bulldogs will participate in a PIAA sub-regional tournament at Treasure Lake Golf Course with teams from districts 5, 6, 8 and 9. The team with the lowest score will move onto the state championship tournament, slated for Oct. 24 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

“That takes the sting out a little big,” said Garvey, “gives them something to refocus on.”

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