ELYRIA — Not only did the golfers in Wednesday’s Elyria Pioneer Invitational have to contend with a strong 14-team field that included some of the area’s top teams, they also spent much of the day fighting the course.
The heavy rains that battered Forest Hills Golf Course on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning left standing water in the bunkers and soggy fairways and greens.
None of it seemed to affect Westlake.
The Demons had a trio of golfers turn in 6-over par 76s, propelling the Demons to the title with a score of 307, five strokes better than second-place Strongsville.
Strongville’s Matt Nimsuwan was medalist with a 4-over 74.
Matt Romansky, R.J. Zanotti and Ryan Malloy all shot 76s for Westlake as did Avon freshman Jack Gerborg. Zanotti claimed second place in a scorecard playoff.
“I was driving it really well and really straight, I had some good iron shots and I chipped and putted pretty well too,” Gerborg said.
“I’ve been playing really well and it’s giving me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season and the rest of my time in high school.”
Avon, which won Tuesday’s Grey Hawk Invitational, was the top Lorain County team, finishing third with a 328. Elyria Catholic (330) was two shots back in fourth place.
Because the grounds were so soft and muddy in spots, the teams were allowed to play lift, clean and place in the fairways.
Elyria coach and tournament manager Jim Kistler had reservations early Wednesday morning if the course would even be playable.
“I was very concerned, I couldn’t get up here and get to the course superintendent fast enough to find out if we were even going to be able to play,” Kistler said. “I knew there wasn’t any flooding because I live right by the course, it was just a matter of if they could get the course repaired and ready enough and they did a great job.”
Last year as a sophomore, Elyria Catholic’s Kyle Mahaffey shot an 80 at Forest Hills in the Division II sectional to qualify for his first trip to districts. Despite the rough conditions Wednesday, Mahaffey showed his offseason work has paid off, leading the Panthers with a 77.
“It was pretty wet out there,” he said. “I know I hit a couple of greens on the front and the ball rolled right back down. It wasn’t too bad though, I’m used to playing in this type of weather.
“My driver and woods were fine today but I had some sloppy iron work. I’m pretty happy with where I am at this point of the season. I’d like to consistently be a few strokes lower but when I compare my game now to where it was two years ago I’m really happy.”
Midview’s Andy Lewis also shot 77 and was the only other local golfer to break 80.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team scores: Westlake 307, Strongsville 312, Avon 328, Elyria Catholic 330, Olmsted Falls 333, Bay 343, Firelands 348, Keystone 348, Midview 362, Elyria 363, North Olmsted 365, North Ridgeville 370, Wellington 376, Buckeye 381.
Medalist: Matt Nimsuwan, Strongsville, 74
Top Individuals: Matt Romansky, Westlake, 76; R.J. Zanotti, Westlake, 76; Ryan Malloy, Westlake, 76; Jack Gerborg, Avon 76, Andy Lewis, Midview, 77; Kyle Mahaffey, Elyria Catholic 77; Michael Lee, Strongsville 78; Jake Jeske, Strongsville, 79.
Westlake (307): Matt Romansky 76, Will Fankhauser 80, Sean Ambrosino 84, Luke Vulku 79, Ryan Malloy 76, R.J. Zanotti 76.
Strongsville (312): Matt Nimsuwan 74, Michael Lee 78, Cameron Muteleski 81, Jake Jeske 79, Corey Malloy 83, Thomas Powers 89.
Avon (328): Cade Grant 85, Jack Gerborg 76, Nolan King 85, Matt Granitto 88, Adam Haemerle 91.
Elyria Catholic (330): Kyle Mahaffey 77, Josh Wells 88, Nick Urbaczewski 80, Alex Brown 99, Will Muzilla 85, Dylan Burbank 330.
Olmsted Falls (333): Mally Kilbane 84, Ryan Higginbotham 81, Gavin Dietrich 89, Michael Fritz 84. Nick Mills 84, John Rini 88.
Bay (343): Luke Fortunato 86, Jack Nageotte 86, Eddie Papp 88, Grant Cooper 83, Garrett Butler 89, John Perrine 94.
Firelands (348): Carter Grude 80, Jackson Talbot 87, Austin Urban 89, Aaron Urban 94, Jaco Newman 97, Beau Grude 92.
Keystone (348): Joseph Gaughan 89, Bryan Sayers 83, Ian Morgan 89, Jake Morgan 87, Rocky Houston 100, Kyler Yusko 94.
Midview (362): Andy Lewis 77, Chase English 84, Michael Ebosh 95, Nathan Lisicky 106, Dan Heuler 110.
Elyria (363): Ryan Streator 101, Eric Sito 87, Philip Mercado 89, Colin Weekley 94, Kyle Kasubienski 94, Franco Trentadue 93.
North Olmsted (365): Matt Olah 85, Travis Vitaz 96, Ethan Kramer 91, Sean Whalen 93, Riley Vertosnik 100, Justin Christ 103.
North Ridgeville (370): Alec Matej 81, Andrew Bogner 95, Greg Codner 98, Jackson Dienes 103, Ethan Hermensky 100, Joe Conroy 96.
Wellington (376): Jordan McKee 94, Luke Tanderich 109, Will Palmison 88, Wyatt Sasack 100, Eric Benko 94, Lilli Kelley 115.
Buckeye (381): Tony Vannello 79, Dylan Bogus 102, Christian Ray 96, Preston Dimarco 104, Will Reagan 125.