Runner-up was a great feeling for Southeastern senior Avery Green and Greeneview freshman Mason Witt at the state golf tournaments Saturday.
Green shot a final round 73 at the OSU Scarlet Course to finish the Division III tournament at 2-over par for his best finish in his third state appearance. Witt shot 72 to finish 3-under par at Northstar Golf Club. Shawnee senior Grant Engle, who said he came in expecting to win, finished tied for fourth in his second appearance.
“I’m really happy, especially after missing state last year,” said Green, who will play Division I golf at Northern Kentucky. “That makes this year really special. And having so many family and friends here made it even more special.”
Green qualified as a freshman, made it with his team as a sophomore and was one stroke short at districts last year. This year he won a one-hole district playoff to advance. He finished five shots behind Columbiana’s Jared Wilson, who won his second straight state title. Green said he drove the ball as well as ever and was happy with his game from tee to green.
“I couldn’t be happier with how Avery played,” Southeastern coach Vince Banion said. “He doesn’t get bothered by pressure even in a tournament like this.”
Witt is the first Greeneview player to reach state, and he came without any expectations other than to play well, the same way he says he approaches every round. He was in third after an opening 68. He made six birdies Saturday, including three in the final six holes. Witt said his Saturday round was better even though his score was higher because of tougher pin placements and more wind.
“It was a great experience to come here and play,” Witt said. “And as well as I played, it was fun.”
Greeneview coach Paul Thompson knew he had a good young player coming into the season. But he didn’t expect only one round above 40 and second place in the state.
“When they’re freshmen you hear that they play well,” Thompson said. “If they stay between bogey and par golf you know they’re going to be good. I had no idea he would be that good.”
Engle entered the day second after an opening 68 but finished with a 77. He won almost every time he played this season and was medalist at the sectional and district tournaments. He played this weekend on the same course where his brother Clark won state six years ago.
“I had a fun senior season, loved playing with my team, coaches are great and it was a fun atmosphere,” Engle said. “I’d been playing really well and feeling really confident with my swing and my game. For sure, my expectations were to come here and win, nothing else. I played well the first day, and didn’t quite have it the second day.”