JACKSON — Simply put, after on off day of a year ago, the South Webster Jeeps are right back near the top of the district’s Division III leaderboard.
That’s because the Jeeps, for three members for the second time in three years, are bound for the Southeast District tournament —following a runner-up effort on Wednesday in the annual sectional tournament at a sun-splashed Franklin Valley Golf Club.
That means seniors Gavin Baker and Cam Carpenter — for the third and final time — will play in the district meet on Monday (Oct. 4) at Portsmouth’s Elks, while junior Riley Burnett is back at that level after missing it last fall.
For the second time in three seasons, the Jeeps were the sectional runners-up to Belpre —which fired a team total of 332 on Wednesday, with South Webster shooting a 351.
All four Jeep counting scores ranged within 11 strokes —as Burnett was the low man with an 82, featuring a 40 on the Franklin Valley front side and a 42 on its back.
Baker bagged a 41 and a 44 for an 85, fellow senior Brady Blizzard boasted a consistent 91 (46-45), and Carpenter carded a 93 (44-49).
South Webster freshman Tristan Belford turned in a 131, and was the Jeeps’ fifth man.
Last season, Burnett shot a 101, Blizzard had a 107, and junior Jonah Martin did not finish.
So, what a difference one full year made — and indeed even one day.
The top five teams and top five individuals not on a qualifying club punched their tickets to The Elks — the traditional site of the district tournament, and of which would benefit the Jeeps.
Two years ago, South Webster was within five shots (373-378) of Belpre for the sectional championship, as Baker (100 in 2019), Carpenter (102 in 2019) and Burnett (103 in 2019) all got first look-sees at Franklin Valley’s diverse layout.
Its hills and valleys define the first dozen holes, as the flat ninth hole is an exception —while the final say six holes are back-and-forth and flat.
Last season, the Jeeps slid to sixth out of 10 on the team front, but Baker (96) and Carpenter (94) — then both juniors — earned two of the five individual berths.
South Webster, with a team score of 398 in 2020, was a mere two strokes behind Coal Grove (396) — which grabbed the fifth and final coveted qualifying spot.
Actually, the fourth thru seventh-place scores were all extremely close — as only nine shots separated fourth-place Waterford (395), Coal Grove (396), South Webster (398) and seventh-place Ironton St. Joseph (404).
This year, the gap was great — aside from Coal Grove’s 377 and Waterford’s 378.
St. Joseph, also a member of the Southern Ohio Conference Division I with South Webster, was the fifth and final qualifying club with a 396.
The back half of the 11-team field included Meigs Eastern (413), Pike Eastern (417), Federal Hocking (424), Southern (450), Trimble (546) and Nelsonville-York (633).
Individually, from a field of 59 golfers, Burnett (82) was fourth and Baker (85) fifth —trailing only Belpre senior Jacob Smeeks (77), Federal Hocking senior Mason Jackson (80), and Belpre junior Matt Deems (81).
The Golden Eagles, in fact, were the only fivesome with their four lowest scores being below 90.
Blizzard (91) finished 13th and Carpenter (93) 15th, as Belpre’s Connor Copeland and St. Joseph’s Eli Ford tied for sixth with an 86.
Last season, Jackson was the match medalist with a 10-over-par 81 — as he turned in a pair of 40s this time, while Smeeks’ smooth 39 and 38 paved the way for his medalist honors.
Jackson led the list of five individual qualifiers, as Meigs Eastern’s Ethan Short shot a 90 for the second straight year —and second consecutive qualifying place.
The others included Short’s senior teammate Colton McDaniel with a 98, Trimble junior Zach North with a 98, and Southern senior Tanner Lisle with an 88.
Clay freshman Tristan Large with a 105 (49-56), and Green freshman Tanner Kimbler (60-55) with a 115, competed as well.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved