Greeneview senior second at Division II state golf

Greeneview's Mason Witt watches a shot during Saturday's Division II state tournament at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Mason Witt earns second runner-up finish

COLUMBUS – Mason Witt’s quest for a second straight Division II golf championship had to rely on a comeback in Saturday’s second 18-hole round on the Ohio State Scarlet Course.

Witt, a Greeneview senior, bounced back from a first-round 75 with a 72, but Columbus Academy sophomore Stephen Ma wouldn’t be caught.

Ma entered Saturday with a two-shot lead on Alter freshman Davis Gochenouer and a four-shot lead on Witt and others. Ma shot a final-round 73 on the par-71 course to finish 2-over-par for the tournament and make Witt a state runner-up for the second time. Witt and Gochenouer, who shot 74 Saturday, finished three strokes behind Ma.

“I feel good – I feel like I played good,” Witt said. “A couple things here and there I wish I could have back but everybody does. Still being able to come out tied for second is awesome. Sure, I wanted to win, but you can’t always win.”

Witt, who was state runner-up as a freshman, was trying to be the 20th player in 93 years of state tournament golf to add his name to the list of two-time medalists and join the likes of Jack Nicklaus and 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis. Two others have won three titles.

Witt closes his Greeneview career with a state championship and two runner-up finishes.

“To be able to come up here and play well every single time is a great accomplishment,” he said.

Greeneview coach Paul Thompson said, “It’s been fantastic to watch him, and it’s been an honor to be able to call myself his coach.”

Witt wasn’t scoreboard watching, but with a new live-scoring app in use this year everyone else was.

“I tried not to because when I do that stuff I tend not to play as well,” Witt said. “I obviously know I’m playing good and I’m probably right there, but I try not to think about it.”

Witt closed the gap on Ma to two strokes with a front-nine 35 while Ma shot 37. Ma started the back nine with a birdie and a bogey. Witt bogeyed 11 and birdied 12 to stay in the hunt. But two shots are as close as Witt got.

“He played enough well to win, and sometimes that’s not always the outcome,” Thompson said. “But he gave himself a chance. He never asked where he was in relation to the leader. He just went out and played. I like that he doesn’t put that pressure on himself, that he just goes out and plays his game.”

Witt now turns his golf attention to playing next year for Xavier University.

“I love team golf,” he said. “I wish Greeneview had a good enough team to come up here and play because it just means more when you’re fighting for other people instead of just yourself.”

Ma led Columbus Academy to its fourth straight team championship. Gochenouer continued his late-season surge – he won the sectional and district tournaments – to lead Alter to a second-place finish. The Knights had rounds of 315 and 314 to finish 14 shots back. Columbus Academy shot a Division II tournament course record 300 on Friday.

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