BANGS — Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets golfer Maggie Williams put in the best performance of her career Friday, shooting a par-72 from the blue tees for the best local individual performance in Friday’s Mount Vernon High School Invitational, which was held at Chapel Hill Golf Course in Bangs.
Williams’ teammates Byron Justice (81) and Cooper Carpenter (85) played well, but it wasn’t enough to catch the top teams. St. Charles — with four golfers breaking par — took first place with a combined 279, while Olentangy Orange placed second (294) and Gahanna-Lincoln (303) finished third.
The Jackets, who also got a 91 from Beau Bridges and a 93 from Carter Carpenter, wound up with a respectable team score of 329, tied with Hilliard Davidson for 13th place.
“We are very fortunate to host so many great programs in this event,” said Mount Vernon coach Anthony Savage. “The weather was gorgeous, the golf course was in great shape and there was a lot of good golf played today. St. Charles’ round of 279 is just incredible golf. They are regularly one of the top programs in the state and coach Brian Unk does a tremendous job. They are the model.”
The best individual round for the day was by Worthington Christian’s Ben Evans, who shot a 4-under 68 to help his team finish just ahead of the Jackets with a 321. Corbin Bentley of Orange was one of three individual players to shoot a 69, with Vince Campagni and Jake Lowis of St. Charles the other two. Luke Gutman (70) and Jason Zehala (71) also shot under par for St. Charles, helping their team to a 9-under par finish for the day.
The Jackets also had two other golfers competing as individuals — Ben Bridges (83) and Mason Boatwright (85).
“I like this team a lot,” Savage said. “We have players working to earn spots and working to keep spots, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We aren’t playing great golf by any means yet, but we’re starting to learn what it takes to put it all together. We play great stretches of golf at times, but we can’t avoid the disasters yet. It is what I somewhat expect, this early on from a relatively inexperience team.”
Williams, playing the same tees as her male counterparts, was in the hunt for most of the day, getting a birdie on the 6th hole, which carried her confidently into the always-tough holes seven, eight and nine. She was even on seven and eight. She only bogeyed the 9th hole, then proceeded to birdie four holes on the back nine (10th, 11th, 14th and 17th) and was one-under before bogeying the final hole.
“Maggie’s round today was brilliant,” Savage said. “For her to shoot 72 out here, playing from the same tees as everyone else, is a testament to her game. She isn’t fancy, she sticks to what she knows she can do — and she does it. It sounds simple, but its not. I talk to our players a lot about handling adversity, not compounding mistakes and not feeling sorry for themselves while they are struggling. She exemplifies this and is a great example for the rest of our players.”
Not a bad day — considering that Williams opened the round with a bogey on Hole No. 1. It was her unflappability that kept her game together.
“I’m super happy with the way I played today,” Williams said. “I think I’ve been on the verge of shooting a solid score from the men’s tees for the past few weeks, and it all came together today. I made five birdies today, which is by far the most I’ve ever had in a high school tournament. On the longer and tougher holes, I kept my focus and told myself I could make a par even if I had to lay up to 100 yards, but knew a bogey wouldn’t ever kill my score. I definitely missed some shots today, but I left myself opportunities to still make par. I’m super excited for the rest of the season, both for me individually and for our team.”
The Jackets will be back in action today at Oakhaven Golf Club in the Olentangy High School Invitational. Tee time is 10 a.m.