Halfway through the Southern Buckeye Conference League Match season, New Richmond seems to be in control of the American Division while the National Division is being led by Williamsburg, although a few other teams are lurking.
The conference holds four nine-hole matches for each division before an 18-hole match of the entire conference takes place on Sept. 22 at Cedar Trace. Currently, through three matches and 27 holes, some storylines have come to the surface while consistent play and improvement has been evident across the board.
Played over a three-week span, each school has had time to get into solid form while not yet reaching their full potential.
Starting in the National Division, the storyline that emerges has been the constant improvement of nearly every team.
At the first league match hosted by Clermont Northeastern at Cedar Trace Golf Course on Sept. 6, Blanchester took home the top spot with a four-man total of 186. Williamsburg finished a close second with a 191, then Georgetown (194), Batavia (197) and CNE (200).
Just five days later, Williamsburg and Batavia really stepped their games up at Elks Run Golf Course where the Wildcats led the way with a 176, closely contested by the Bulldogs’ 179. Georgetown and CNE both showed improvement over their first league match performances with Georgetown finishing third with a 186 and CNE finishing fourth with a 195. Blanchester was the only team to fail to improve on their first match score, dropping 10 strokes to finish in fifth with a 196.
The third National Division match took place on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Wilmington Elks Golf Club and was hosted by Blanchester. Once again, a steady improvement was evident with each team posting their best score of the three league matches. Once again, Williamsburg took home the top spot, shooting a 162 to hold off second-place Batavia by 11 strokes. Georgetown finished in third with a 177 while CNE and Blanchester both carded 181s.
After three matches and at the official halfway point, Williamsburg leads the division by virtue of their strong recent play. Their three-round total of 529 is 20 strokes better than second-place Batavia’s 549. Georgetown sits in third place at 557, Blanchester is in fourth at 563 and CNE is in fifth with 576.
The National Division will have one more nine-hole match at Buttermilk Golf Course on Sept. 19.
On the other side of the conference, New Richmond has taken a strangle-hold on the competition while Amelia is holding down the second spot with relative ease.
The Lions have shot rounds of 151, 150 and 161 in their first three matches to hold a 55-stroke advantage over Amelia. The Barons three rounds of 170, 171, 176 has them safely in second. The rest of the Division — Bethel, Western Brown, Goshen and Norwood — have placed in that order.
While the scoring is pretty consistent in the league matches so far, all three have ended in the same order with New Richmond winning, Amelia coming in second, Bethel third, Western Brown fourth, Goshen fifth and Norwood coming in sixth place.
The good news for both divisions is that both sides of the conference has a lot of golf left to play. With one more nine-hole match left, the 18-hole match could be the deciding factor in determining not only a division and league champion, but also the end-of-the-year honors.
The Southern Buckeye Conference determines their First and Second Team selections strictly off of score in the league matches after the 18-hole finale.