WILLIAMSPORT — Wheelersburg junior Brady Gill found himself in contention for a qualifying spot for the Division II State Golf Tournament during this week’s D-II Southeast District tournament at Crown Hill Golf Club.
There were two qualifying spots to the D-II State Tournament up for grabs for individuals not on one of two qualifying teams at Crown Hill — and the Pirate senior seized one with a birdie putt on a fourth playoff hole to defeat Piketon’s Owen Armstrong and Warren’s John Wharton.
“My approach was to keep my composure and stay calm,” Gill said. “After I made it through the first playoff hole, I knew I had a good chance. We went back and forth, but I tried to focus on my game and not worry about anything else. Things came together on the fourth hole. I had a birdie putt to qualify. It was an unreal feeling when it went in.”
Gill fired a team-low 10-over (82) round to qualify as the second individual, while Warren’s Edward Kehl shot a tournament-low two-over (74) to claim the first individual qualifying spot.
Sheridan (331) and Gallia Academy (335) were the teams who qualified for the D-II state tournament with the lowest combined scores.
“I’m excited. I’ve played a lot of golf over the last year and worked hard to get better,” Gill said, of qualifying for state. “My family, friends, coach, teammates, and the whole Wheelersburg community have been really supportive, and it means a lot to me.”
Gill was one of five Pirates who competed in the tournament, along with SOC II Player of the Year junior Eli Hall, senior Levi Kidd, and juniors Carter Hancock and Owen Young.
The Pirates placed 10th out of 10 competing teams with a 363 team score. Kidd’s 89 was the second lowest ‘Burg score, with Hall’s 94 and Young’s 98 adding to their final total.
Minford senior Matthew Justice competed as an individual and placed tied for 48th with a 97 round.
“The course was very challenging, but it was hard for everyone. I knew I just had to grind it out to advance,” Gill said. “My driver was probably the best part of my game Wednesday. I stayed out of trouble for the most part, and it helped create some scoring opportunities.”
While this will be Gill’s first chance to compete at the state level himself, it’s not the first time someone close to him has.
Maddie Gill, a 2020 Wheelersburg graduate and Brady’s sister, was a four-time qualifier for the Division II Girls State Tennis Tournament.
Former Wheelersburg golfers Mitchell McFarland (Class of ‘16) and Trevin Mault (Class of ‘21) and coach Paul Boll have also given Gill plenty of advice for taking on the state stage.
Gill will play at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course, the same course that Mault competed on during his senior year as a state qualifier.
“My sister told me it might feel overwhelming, but I should just play my game and have fun. Coach Boll said it’s important to focus on one shot at a time,” Gill said. “Trevin and Mitchell both played for Wheelersburg, and I’ve always looked up to them. They’ve talked to me about strategies for the course. I’m going to do my best to follow everyone’s advice.”
The Division II State Golf Tournament will take place on October 14 & 15 at the OSU Scarlet Course.
Gill will tee off on hole No. 10 at 10:40 a.m. on Friday alongside his pairing of Cuyahoga Falls CVCA’s Auden Cannone and Napoleon’s Will Fraker.
“It’s a tough course, and I’m excited to play it. I want to do my best. I just need to focus on the shot in front of me and try to forget about everything else,” Gill said. “Whatever happens, I’m going to enjoy the experience.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved