By Chris Chaney
Even before school starts around Clermont County, the fall sports season has gotten underway with eight boys’ golf teams taking part in early-season action.
Following a summer filled with individual tournament play, local teams have come together to compete as a group for the first time since October of last year. Amelia, Batavia, Bethel-Tate, Clermont Northeastern, Felicity-Franklin, Glen Este, Goshen, Milford and New Richmond all teed it up in various tournaments, previews and matches over the past week.
The biggest tournament in the area was the Eastside Challenge held at Stillmeadow Country Club on Monday, Aug. 11.
Eight teams from around Southwest Ohio pegged it at the site of the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association’s Tony Blom Metropolitan Amateur Championship with the three-time Southern Buckeye Conference champions, the New Richmond Lions, taking home the first prize.
The Lions are in their first year under new head coach Steve Wolf after a successful run headed up by Phil Heflin. Returning to the mix for the team is SBC-American Player of the Year Chris Mazzaro and district qualifier Bryce Kroeger. The pair combined for two of the top four scores at the Eastside Challenge with Mazzaro medaling with a 1-over par 71 and Kroeger getting into the swing of things with an 82.
The Lions four-man total of 361 edged out SBC rivals Amelia who placed second with a 372. The Barons were led by senior Trent Edwards who fired a team-best 9-over par 79.
Georgetown finished third with a 402. Clinton McElroy led the G-Men with a 73.
Bethel-Tate finished fourth with a 406. District qualifier Mitchell McElfresh fired an 85 to lead the way for the Tigers who already picked up their first victory of the season in a 403-455 win over Clermont Northeastern on Aug. 8.
Speaking of the Rockets, they finished in 7th place at the Eastside Challenge with a 450. Goshen (411) and Western Brown (425) came in fifth and sixth, respectively, while Felicity-Franklin finished eighth with a total of 525.
Elsewhere on Monday, Milford and Glen Este kicked off their league play at the Eastern Cincinnati Conference Preseason Tournament at Glenview Golf Course. The Eagles finished runners-up to defending league champions Loveland and the Trojans took home third place, coming up just two shots shy of Milford.
Glen Este’s Thomas Zink took home low Clermont golfer honors, one stroke back of tournament medalist Isaac Vock of Loveland, shooting a 3-over par 75. Milford’s Nathan Arnold was just one stroke behind, shooting a 4-over par 76, while teammate Dan Stephen shot 77.
The Eagles top four was rounded out by Aaron Wade’s 80 and Jon Snider’s 88.
For Glen Este, Brandon Gillespie’s 79, Tyler Creel’s 82 and Chris Glisson’s 87 rounded out their pertinent scoring.
The ECC Preseason Tournament was Glen Este’s first event of 2014, but Milford’s third. The Eagles already placed first in the Bethel-Tate Invitational held last week at Friendly Meadows and 10th in the Indian Hill Invitational on Friday, Aug. 8.
More teams were in action at the Rocket Shootout on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Cedar Trace Golf Course. Results were not available at the time this edition went to print.
For complete schedules of area golf teams, log on to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s master site at schedules.myohsaa.org.