WHEELERSBURG — With his final Wheelersburg High School golf competition this coming weekend, Trevin Mault is giving his all — and doing his best Pat Benatar.
That being hitting his best shots, and firing away.
That’s because Mault — a senior and four-time Division II Southeast District tournament participant — is among the individuals competing at Friday AND Saturday’s state golf meet, which will take place at the 18-hole par-71 Ohio State University Scarlet course.
The Alister MacKenzie-designed layout is rated as one of the top collegiate courses in the entire country by Golf Digest, and is located two miles northwest of the OSU campus — close to Upper Arlington.
Mault makes his debut there with a practice round on Thursday, and made it there to begin with by firing a two-over-par 74 at Crown Hill Golf Club last Wednesday — capturing match medalist honors for the Division II district tournament.
“It’s been one of my goals every season, but it really means a lot this season because it’s my senior year” said Mault, in an interview on Monday. “The districts would have been my last match if I didn’t make it out (to state). I’m really glad that I made it to state and got an extra match to play.”
He is believed to be the first Wheelersburg boys golfer to compete at the state meet since 1999 —when the Pirates participated by qualifying as a team.
The Pirates, in three of the past four years, qualified for the district tournament as a fivesome—and this season finished fourth.
But Mault, with his 74, made it to the top of the leaderboard for those not on a state qualifying team — and thus punched the only ticket to the state available that route.
Indeed, while the district team champion qualifies for the state tournament, so too does the top individual not on a state qualifying club.
Mault’s smooth 39 on the front followed by an even lower 35 on the back gave him his 74 — as he competed in the district tournament in all four seasons.
Mault improved in each of his four district meets, lowering his total from an 86 as a freshman to 84 as a sophomore to 81 as a junior.
This year, he edged out Fairland senior Clayton Thomas for that top spot, as Thomas shot 77 —with a 38 and a 39.
In each instance at Crown Hill, Mault made the district meet a learning experience for the next.
“That course can be tricky. I haven’t played it a whole lot because it’s a good hour-and-a-half away (from Wheelersburg), but the past four years, I’ve played it enough to learn where to not miss shots,” he said. “Making sure I hit it to the right spots on the greens really helps. Some of the greens out there aren’t really receptive and the ball rolls off.”
Wheelersburg golf coach Paul Boll, who has guided the Pirates in all four of Mault’s years, praised his senior’s mental approach.
His stroke average this year, per nine holes, is 36.9.
“Over the four years, Trevin has gotten more and more consistent. And he has the mental part of the game down now. At Crown Hill in the district, the conditions got pretty rough in the afternoon. A lot of players had trouble dealing with that. But Trevin knows how to adjust his swing for the different conditions,” said Boll. “The mental game is his biggest improvement this year. Golf is not just tools, it’s knowing how to put it all together. That’s the mark of a senior. Being ready for whatever weather or the course throws at him.”
Mault’s mental game will indeed be tested this week with his physical play, as the wind and rolling terrain of the Scarlet course creates challenges on several holes.
The greens are large and contoured with strategically-placed bunkers, as there is also a nine-and-a-half acre lake with winding stream.
Per www.golfadvisor.com, the rating is 76.1, the slope is 142, and the yardage is 7,455 from the championship tees.
A decade-and-a-half ago, the Scarlet course underwent a major restoration project — overseen by former Ohio State legend and 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.
Mault said he has never played the Scarlet, and currently can’t because of college recruiting rules, but watched when Wheelersburg graduate and now former University of Akron standout Mitchell McFarland competed there.
“I don’t remember much about it because it was so cold that day, but I do remember the greens being big and the rough really thick,” he said.
Mault explained that his sources have informed him that those greens remain large and fast, so a premium — and added emphasis — will be placed upon chipping and putting.
“It’s nice that they give us a practice round. I’ll spend most of my time during the week working on my short game, because I feel it’s the most important, but a lot of time working on things depending on the course I’m going to be playing,” he said.
“Trevin does a good job of learning how to play different courses,” said the coach. “He’ll look closely at it during his practice round, and I imagine he will come out playing pretty good,” said the coach. “I think he will be right there in the thick of things. A 74 at Crown Hill is like a 70 at most other courses. Right now, I just want to stay out of his way and let him do his thing. I’m just happy that he is there and it’s nice to have one more match with him.”
Of course, there is always the weather factor — as the Columbus-area Friday forecast features much cooler temperatures in the low-50s or even high-40s.
There is also the possibility of rain for Friday, although Mault made it clear he is more concerned about “annoying” wind.
“The weather will affect it some, but as long as it’s not in the low 40s or 30s, I think it will be okay. Wearing extra clothes to make sure you don’t get cold affects your swing a little bit, but not a whole lot. The wind up there is annoying, though. It makes a big difference in my opinion,” he said. “At the district, it made an impact in the afternoon. I went from one-under to two-over on the back nine.”
The wind will likely impact play for Friday at least, as Mault tees off on the opening hole at 10:40 a.m.
The top-five finishers for the two-day and 36-hole competition earn all-Ohio honors —as Mault was first team (Division II) all-Southeast District last year.
And who knows — as Mault left Crown Hill for the fourth and final time with a gold Ohio High School Athletic Association medal around his neck.
Who is to say Mault can’t capture gold at The Scarlet either?
He is definitely going to give it his best shot…and fire away.
“Having never played that course, I really don’t know. But if I am playing good, and everything works out, you never know,” he said.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved