NORWALK — If Wednesday’s Southwestern Conference Preview at Eagle Creek Golf Club is any indication of what’s in store for the remainder of the season, it’s going to be a wild one.
Westlake won with a 310 total, finishing nine strokes ahead of second-place Olmsted Falls (319).
After that is where the field really started to tighten up as the second- through sixth-place teams were separated by only 18 stokes.
The scores were just as close on the individual side as Avon Lake junior Tyler Madden took medalist honors with a 1-under-par 70, edging North Ridgeville senior Alec Matej by one and Westlake junior Matt Romansky by two.
Led by Madden, who picked up his third tournament win of the young season, Avon Lake was the top Lorain County team, finishing third with a 320.
It was the best outing of the year for the Shoremen, who also got a 4-over 75 from junior Ryan Shinko.
“This was out best score of the year so that was nice to see,” Avon Lake coach Dan Wilson said. “We had a couple guys really step up. Tyler Madden won the event, Ryan Shinko had, I think, his best round ever with a 75 and got a couple of scores in the 80s which we’ve been struggling to do lately.”
Madden played one of the most consistent rounds of his career with 17 pars and one birdie.
“I hit the ball dead straight and I hit a lot of greens,” said Madden, who also won the season-opening Elyria Catholic Invitational at Brentwood Golf Club and Monday’s Comet Invitational at Oberlin Golf Club. “I only missed five greens and every time I was able to get up and down. We played from the white tees so the course played a little bit shorter. I played smart off the tees and made sure I was in a good situation to go for the pin.
“After losing five seniors from last year and still be in the middle of the conference race is really awesome. A performance like this really gives us something to build on if we play hard and practice hard every day. It should be a good season.”
Avon, led by Cade Grant’s 79, finished fourth with 324. Amherst (336) topped North Ridgeville (337) by a stroke for fifth place. The Comets were led by Jacob Fitzpatrick’s 79.
Matej, playing at Eagle Creek for the first time, achieved his goal of putting himself in position to make a run at the SWC individual championship.
“The course suited my game really well,” he said. “I made a fair amount of birdies, unfortunately, I followed them up with some bogeys so it all evened out,” Matej said. “I was able to stay straight on the fairway. That’s what helped me. My coach told me it’s a very difficult course so I just wanted to play a steady round and roll with it.”
Matej is ready to turn his attention to the dual-meet portion of the league schedule.
“I just want to try to stay at the top of the SWC leaderboard and try to accomplish my goal of being No. 1 in the Southwestern Conference,” Matej said.
Westlake was the only team to have three golfers shoot in the 70s — Romansky (73), Luke Vulku (78) and Ryan Malloy (79).
“It’s going to be a competitive season,” Wilson said. “A lot of us are in rebuilding years. Westlake put up a nice score today. We were one behind Olmsted Falls. I couldn’t tell you who’s going to win. It’s really anybody’s race. All I can tell you is we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Team results: Westlake 310, Olmsted Falls 319, Avon Lake 320, Avon 324, Amherst 336, North Ridgeville 337, North Olmsted 352, Midview 359, Berea-Midpark 396, Lakewood 406.
Medalist: Tyler Madden, Avon Lake, 70
Top Individuals: Alec Matej (North Ridgeville), 72; Matt Romansky (Westlake), 73; Ryan Shinko (Avon Lake), 75; Gavin Dietrich (Olmsted Falls), 77; Luke Vulku (Westlake), 78; Jacob Fitzpatrick (Amherst), 79; Cade Grant (Avon), 79; Ryan Higgenbotham (Olmsted Falls), 79; Ryan Malloy (Westlake), 79.
Westlake (310): Matt Romansky 73, Will Fankhauser 80, Sean Ambrosino 81, Luke Vulku 78, Ryan Malloy 79, R.J. Zanotti 84
Olmsted Falls (319): Nick Mills 84, Mally KIlbane 83, Ryan Higgenbotham 79, Gavin Dietrich 77, Michael Fritz 80, Brady Loomis 87
Avon Lake (320): Tyler Madden 70, Ryan Shinko 75, Owen Conroy 89, Patrick Fitz 89, Sean Laverty 86, Max Rauch 91
Avon (324): Nick Robbins 89, Nolan King 82, Jack Gerborg 82, Cade Grant 79, Matt Granitto 93, George Berki 81.
Amherst (336): Jacob Fitzpatrick 79, Zach Pena 85, Brent Baumgartner 82, Nathan Harmych 99, Austin Bray 90, Rocco Pecora, 103
North Ridgeville (337): Alec Matej 72, Andrew Bogner 96, Ben Lampe 86, Jackson Dienes 96, Ethan Hermensky 94, Joe Conroy 85
North Olmsted (352): Matt Olah 80, Travis Vitaz 101, Ethan Kramer 89, Sean Whalen 93, Riley Vertosnik 90, Kevin Olah 113
Midview (359): Andy Lewis 80, Chase English 91, Ryan Staron 98, Michael Ebosh 88, Nathan Lisicky 102. Quinn Rowe 107
Berea-Midpark (396): Trent Shick 96, Gage Treher 102, Ryan Cunningham 97, Johnny Reilly 112, Logan Cook, 103, Arin Butscher 102
Lakewood (405): Seth Andregg 97, Charles Hericks 101, Sydney Heckeler 104, Sean McHugh 102