AVON LAKE — Amherst returned to the site of its biggest win of the year Monday for the Division I sectional tournament.
Just like the last time they walked off the Legacy Course at Sweetbriar — as Southwestern Conference tournament champions — the Comets left with smiles on their faces and a sense of mission accomplished.
Led by junior Jacob Fitzpatrick’s 76, the Comets finished fourth to earn the final qualifying spot for next week’s district tournament at Pine Hills in Hinckley.
“This weekend we came out here and practiced Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Fitzpatrick said. “One through six, all of our guys have been working hard. We had a lot of confidence coming into today because we knew we could get out. Now we have to keep practicing hard and keep the momentum going.”
Freshman Austin Bray shot 86, senior Zach Pena 87 and sophomore Nathan Harmych 88 to round out the Comets lineup.
Fitzpatrick was one of five golfers who shot a 4-over-par 76. Strongsville senior Matt Nimsuwan was medalist with a 74.
“The course was in great shape, it wasn’t wet at all,” Fitzpatrick said. “I really started out strong. I was even par on the front side.”
St. Ignatius, led by junior Andrew Kaye, an Avon Lake resident, and freshman Topher Reed, took the team title with a score of 308. Kaye and Reed both shot 76.
“We were able to lift, clean and place on the fairways so were able to clean off all the mud, make sure we had the right lie and make sure your feet weren’t above the ball,” said Kaye, who qualified to state last year. “If you could hit an iron on the green it would stick. We all just played smart team golf today. We expected to come in and do well, in fact we wanted to go lower. Now we’re ready to go to districts and win.”
Stronsgville, the Greater Cleveland Conference champions, finished second with a 321. St. Edward, who got a team-best 79 from Westlake resident Liam Chambers, took third with 325.
The other two golfers who shot 76 Monday — North Ridgeville senior Alec Matej and Avon Lake junior Ryan Shinko — are also headed to districts as individual qualifiers. Bay’s Grant Cooper (79) and Rocky River’s Will Bennett (82) earned the final two individual qualifying positions.
“I was playing pretty well today,” said Shinko, who shot an 80 at the SWC tournament at Legacy. “My drives were straighter than they have been. My short game was pretty darn good and I hit my irons well today. I haven’t shot this well here before but I have played well at some other courses recently and that gave me the confidence to play well today. At SWC’s, I was really drawing my driver, today it was going straight.”
Matej, the top golfer in the SWC this season, capped off a memorable year by qualifying for his first district tournament.
“I played pretty well but I got myself into trouble a few times,” he said. “I had three doubles (double bogeys), three birdies and a bogey. The course was great, the greens were nice. I was expecting them to be a little faster but there were really nice.
“This is an incredible feeling. My goal this year was state and the first step towards that goal is done. I ended with a 36 on the back nine when I played here last week so I had a lot of confidence coming in.”
Team results (Top four teams advance to Division I district tournament in Hinckley): St. Ignatius 308, Strongsville 321, St. Edward 325, Amherst 337
St. Ignatius (308): Andrew Kaye 76, Topher Reed 76, Nick Longano 79, Ross Williamson 77, Jake Moraca 81
Strongsville (321): Matt Nimsuwan 74, Michael Lee 81, Jake Jeske 81, Cameron Moteleski 91, Corey Malloy 85
St. Edward (325): Liam Chambers 79, Max Nepecumeco 81, Cam Addington 85, Colin Myslenski 80, Sean Coughlin 91
Amherst (337): Jacob Fitzpatrick 76, Austin Bray 86, Nathan Harmych 88, Brent Baumgartner 94, Zach Pena 87
Medalist: Matt Nimsuwan (Strongsville), 74
Individual qualifiers (Top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to districts in HinCkley): Alec Matej (North Ridgeville), 76; Ryan Shinko (Avon Lake), 76; Grant Cooper (Bay), 79; Will Bennett (Rocky River), 82
Other team results
Rocky River (340): Mac Milenius 86, Will Bennett 82, Ethan Mylett 85, Tommy Kelly 91, Matthew McDonald 87
Avon Lake (345): Tyler Madden 85, Ryan Shinko 76, Sean Laverty 91, Owen Conroy 93, Patrick Fitz 97
North Ridgeville (348): Alec Matej 76, Andrew Bogner 95, Greg Codner 97, Ben Lampe 84, Jackson Dienes 93
Bay (349): Luke Fortunato 97, Eddie Papp 85, Jack Nagoette 91, Grant Cooper 79, Garrett Butler 94
Olmsted Falls (354): Nick Mills 83, Ryan Higginbotham 93, Michael Fritz 86, Gavin Dietrich 95, Mally Kilbane 92
Westlake (356): Matt Romansky 92, Will Fankhauser 86, Luke Vulku 98, Ryan Malloy 89, R.J. Zanotti 89
Avon (363): Nick Robbins 86, Nolan King 88, Jack Gerborg 92, Cade Grant 99, Matt Granitto 97
Midview (390): Andy Lewis 86, Michael Ebosh 97, Ryan Staron 102, Quinn Rowe 105
Elyria (393): Eric Sito 107, Phillip Mercado 96, Colin Weekley 95, Ryan Streator 95, Ben McFredrick 110
North Olmsted (402): Matt Olah 94, Travis Vitaz 106, Ethan Kramer 101, Sean Whalen 103, Riley Vertosnik 104
Lakewood (440): Seth Andregg 98, Charles Hericks 96, Tristan Rumsey 110, Sean McHugh 136