Golf can be an unforgiving game, even when you’re playing well.
Independence senior Tyler Wilson found that out on Wednesday when he shot a 77 at the Division III district tournament at Tannenhauf Golf Course in Canton but missed the cut for the state tournament by just one stroke.
“We thought for sure a 77 would be good enough (to qualify for state),” said Independence coach Mark Echstenkamper. “He had the second best score in the whole tournament. (Three players) had a 76 and he had a 77. It just seems like a crime that he didn’t make it to Columbus. I feel so bad for him.”
The top two teams and two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the state tournament. Columbiana won the event with a score of 318 and Warren JFK was second with 338. Independence finished third, just seven strokes behind JFK.
That left Wilson desperate for one of the individual golfer bids to state.
Columbiana’s Jared Wilson, Open Door Christian Academy’s Max Vandermersch and Trinity’s Joe LeSueur all carded 76. Wilson was part of a qualifying team and Vandermersch and LeSueur earned the individual state tournament bids.
Wilson came up short.
“It’s really bittersweet,” Echstenkamper said. “He played a great round and I thought for sure he was going to make it in. The kid from Trinity shot 84 at sectionals and he came in with 40 on the first 9. I thought he’d come in with a 39 at best but he came in with a 36. Good for him. That kid clutched up.”
Making matters worse, Wilson scored better than 9 out of the 10 golfers who were part of state qualifying teams.
As a team, the Blue Devils shot 345.
“I’m really, really pleased with how well our kids played,” Echstenkamper said. “A 345 on that course is a really good score. We missed it by seven strokes.”
All five of Independence’s golfers broke 100 in the tournament.
Nick Brunsman carded an 81, Andrew Teribery shot 91 and Joe Zamborsky and Joe Rydzinski both finished with 96.
“Nick’s 81 was a really good score too but he had five three putts,” Echstenkamper said. “He’s kicking himself for that. He had a 41 on the first 9, so he knew the writing was pretty much on the wall for him. He still shot a 40 on the next 9.”