COLUMBIA STATION — The greens were fast, the temperatures were scorching and the competition was close.
The Midview Invitational at Columbia Hills Country Club followed the script Tuesday that has been in place for most of the 2018 season.
Strongsville won the event on the par-71 course with a score of 313, the second time this season the Mustangs have traveled to Lorain County and went home with championship hardware. Westlake was second with a 322 and Amherst was the top local team with its best result of the year, finishing third with a 325.
Amherst’s Jacob Fitzpatrick and Westlake’s Will Fankhauser battled for medalist honors with 4-over 75s. Fankhauser won on a scorecard playoff, but that didn’t take away from Fitzpatrick’s excitement with his round.
“I just played really well. I hit my driver well, I was putting really good and I even hit my irons well,” Fitzpatrick said. “It just came down to a playoff at the end. There’s nothing you can do about it. A result like this here at this course gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. As a team we really did well today, we’ve got some momentum going into the rest of the season.”
As was the case at last month’s Southwestern Conference preview, the SWC teams were tightly bunched in the standings again. Six of the eight SWC teams in the field finished within 20 strokes of each other.
North Ridgeville’s Alec Matej and Avon Lake’s Tyler Madden were one shot behind the leaders with 5-over 76s, although a triple bogey on his last hole was all that stood between Matej and being medalist.
“I felt really good until I triple-bogeyed that last hole,” Matej said. “I went right, then I punched out and I was on the lip of the bunker. From there I went OB (out of bounds), I dropped, chipped twice and one-putted, so that hole was really a struggle.
“I did pretty good dealing with the heat but it was hot out there. I drank a lot of water, brought some cold towels out with me and just tried to say cool as I could. The course was in really great condition so it still made for a great day.”
North Ridgeville, Avon and Olmsted Falls each shot a 339.
While most golfers would be thrilled to shoot a 76, Madden, who had a 1-under round at the SWC Preview, came off the course with a laundry list of things he needed to work on.
“I hit it pretty straight and kept it in play today but I struggled with my irons, didn’t hit a lot of greens and could get anything up and down,” Madden said. “I putted OK, it was actually my chipping I had a problem with. The slope on the greens made it hard to read and difficult to two-putt.”
In a field filled with Division I teams some of the smaller schools had a hard time keeping pace in the team standings, but it didn’t stop Keystone’s Bryan Sayers, who shot a 78, and Elyria Catholic’s Kyle Mahaffey, who shot an 81, from posting two of the top individual scores.
The weather forced one team, Firelands, to withdraw from the event. Midview coach and tournament director Randy Camp said despite temperatures in the low 90s during the event, it basically went off without a hitch.
“We had a couple kids get sick out there but everyone did a good job of fighting through the conditions,” Camp said. “We had a lot of water out there, we tried to keep everyone hydrated, but you also hope they come in pretty good condition.”
TEAM SCORES: Strongsville 313, Westlake 322, Amherst 325, Rocky River 331, Avon 339, Olmsted Falls 339, North Ridgeville 339, Avon Lake 342, Elyria Catholic 347, Midview 355, Keystone 362, North Olmsted 375, Wellington 376, Elyria 383, Buckeye 390.
MEDALIST: Will Fankhauser, Westlake, 75.
TOP INDIVIDUALS: Jacob Fitzpatrick, Amherst, 75; Tyler Madden, Avon Lake, 76; Alec Matej, North Olmsted, 76, Matt Nimsuwan, Strongsville, 76; Jake Jeske, Strongsville, 77; Bryan Sayers, Keystone, 78; Cameron Moteleski, Strongsville, 79; Luke Vulku, Westlake, 79.
Amherst (325): Jacob Fitzpatrick 75, Austin Bray 88, Brent Baumgartner 86, Nathan Harmych 83, Zack Pena 81, Rocco Pecora 91.
Avon (339): Nick Robbins 91, Cade Grant 85, Jack Gerborg 84, Nolan King 82, George Berki 88, Adam Haemmerle 92.
Avon Lake (342): Tyler Madden 76, Ryan Shinko 80, Owen Conroy 101, Sean Laverty 89, Kevin Pincura 97, Max Rauch 99,
Elyria (383): Eric Sito 99, Philip Mercado 98, Colin Weekley 95, Ryan Streator 97,Ben McFrederick 93, Franco Trentadue 111.
Elyria Catholic (347): Kyle Mahaffey 81, Devin Pluta 97, Nick Urbaczewski 88, Alex Brown 90, Josh Wells 88, Will Muzilla 98.
Keystone (362): Jake Morgan 86, Bryan Sayers 78, Kyler Yusko 99, Rocky Houston 99.
Midview (355): Andy Lewis 82, Chase English 87, Ryan Staron 95, Michael Ebosh 91, Cullen Large 104, Dan Heular 112.
North Ridgeville (339): Alec Matej 76, Andrew Bogner 91, Jackson Dienes 94, Ben Lampe 88, Greg Codner 84, Kolin Matej 99.
Wellington (376): Will Palmison 91, Jordan McKee 88, Eric Benko 96, Wyatt Sasack 101, Lilli Kelley 114.