Should he find himself in the state championship hunt on Saturday, don’t expect nerves to get the best of Southeastern High School senior Avery Green.
The Division III district tournament prepared him for that. Green, a three-time state qualifier who missed last year’s tournament by one stroke, nearly met the same fate this season. He won a one-hole playoff at the district tournament, winning the second and final qualifying spot with a two-putt par.
“Having my family there, my team and my coach watching was a pretty cool moment,” Green said. “I remember looking back on the tee box and there was a ton of people.”
Green shot 73 at Beavercreek Golf Club to finish two shots behind medalist Nathan Osborn of Twin Valley South. Green topped Dayton Christian senior Phillip Miller in the playoff.
Last season he shot 73 at district to finish one stroke out of second place and two strokes from medalist. Green used the finish as motivation for this season. But he didn’t let it drive him crazy.
“I tried to put it out of my mind. I wasn’t too upset because I played good enough last year to make it, there were just two better scores,” Green said. “I couldn’t be upset with how I played. But to make it this year made it that much better.”
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Shawnee senior Grant Engle and Greeneview freshman Mason Witt qualified for the Division II state tournament. Both tournaments are two-day, 36-hole events on Friday and Saturday. Green plays the Scarlet Course at Ohio State Unversity, while Engle and Witt – the first state qualifier in Greeneview program history – play at the NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury.
Green played the Scarlet Course in 2015 when the Trojans qualified as a team. He shot 84-84–168 and finished 24th. As a freshman in 2014, he shot 80-78–158 to finish 14th at NorthStar.
“I think he’s fully capable of winning it,” Southeastern coach Vince Banion said. “You have to go in with the mentality of you’re going to win this thing. That’s our goal. He’s going to play his best and leave it all out there.”
The scouting report on Green is he’s very consistent with a strong short game. Seldom does the Northern Kentucky University recruit put himself in a bad situation. He’ll need that on the Scarlet Course that, according to Banion, features fast greens and tough slopes. In 2016 GolfWeek ranked it among the top 10 college courses in the country.
“Obviously I want to play good and give myself a chance to win, but just making it is a pretty cool experience,” Green said. “It’s great to have another chance to compete at state and I’ll see what I can do. … I don’t think it’s going to take a crazy score to win it. I think making even-par gives you a chance to win it.”
The game plan for Friday is to play safe, smart golf to stay in contention. Saturday is all about getting to the top of the leaderboard.
“If you have to take some risks to get lower go for it,” Banion said. “That’s usually when Avery competes at his best. He turns on this laser focus and that’s when you see his best golf come out. He’s an amazing high school golfer and a really good kid as well. I’m happy he’s having this success.”
Engle shot 73 at the Beavercreek to win the D-II district tournament and earn his second state appearance. He won by three strokes over runner-up Witt. Engle played the Scarlet Course last season and shot 80-73–153 to finish 10th.
He attempts to join his brother as a state champion. Clark Engle won the D-II title playing NorthStar as a junior.
“That’d be really sweet just to say that both of us are state champions,” Grant told the News-Sun prior to the district tournament. “I don’t know how many brothers can say that. I don’t want to talk about that too much because I still have to get the work done.”
Witt enters state shooting just one round in the 40s this season, Rams coach Paul Thompson said.
“Mason has had an amazing season and has established himself as a leader of our team,” said Thompson. “His willingness to continue to develop and work at becoming a better player is inspiring. I have been incredibly impressed by his poise during his rounds, and his ability to scramble during a round and set realistic goals. He is destined for a great future in golf.”