UPPER ARLINGTON — East Knox senior Drew Salyers put himself in a good position after the first round of the Division III state golf tournament Friday.
Salyers fired a three-over-par 75 and currently sits in fifth place individually at the two-day tournament at the Ohio State University’s Scarlet course.
“Seventy-five is not 85 and once he decompresses, he will realize that,” said East Knox coach Alan Keesee. “If he can put a good Day 2 together, he’ll be happy at the end of the day.”
Justin Atkinson of Brookfield leads the tournament after firing a one-under-par 71. Owen Carney of Crooksville is at 72, while Kyle Freudeman of Canton Central Catholic shot 73 and Sam Pettengill of Country Day shot 74.
Salyers started the day off strong, birdying the 435-yard first hole. But, that was one of the last putts it seemed he would make. The senior bogeyed the next two holes to get to one over, then ran off five straight pars before bogeying hole No. 9.
His putting kept him from making any serious runs, especially on the back nine. He missed three good birdie putts and then three-putted for par after reaching the par-5 14th hole in two shots.
“He had a couple of near misses on birdies and an eagle that I’m sure he wished he had one,” Keesee said. “I think that weighed on him a bit. When you’re that close and can’t make any, it’s almost crushing.”
Salyers had just one bogey on the back nine and eight pars en route to a 37 and a 75 for his 18-hole round. The bogey came on the 15th hole when he tee shot ran through the fairway and he had to chip out from under a tree. He was not able to get up and down to save par.
“It was a game of inches today. It’s not an excuse, but he had so many putts that finished only about three inches off,” Keesee said.
Berlin Hiland is leading the team competition at 317. Wellington is just one shot behind (318) with Canton CC (321), Brookfield (323) and Gilmour Academy (324) all within shouting distance.
Salyers will play in the final group of individuals today in the final round of the tournament. He will play with Pettengill and Tyler Andersen of Columbiana beginning at 10:50 a.m. off the first tee.