WHEELING — In most sports, a team that consists of only one player who can legally drive a car might be an issue.
For the St. Clairsville golf team, it’s no problem at all.
The Red Devils — with a team of no player older than a sophomore in terms of eligibility — ran away and hid with the OVAC Class 4A golf title Tuesday afternoon at Oglebay Park’s Crispin Course thanks to an impressive score of 308, which was 49 shots better than runner-up Buckeye Local.
“We’ve really prepared for this (tournament) and our kids take this event very seriously,” St. C. head coach Ryan Clifford said. “Winning these (OVAC titles) never gets old. It’s really fun. It was fun a few weeks ago when we won the Buckeye 8 and this is fun, too. I’ll take that 308 (team score) on any day and from here on out for the rest of the season and live with the results.”
The Red Devils, who have now won an OVAC-best 26 conference golf titles in history, repeated as the 4A champions in the process.
While the final score indicates the Red Devils may have made it look relatively easy, according to Clifford, it was far from easy.
“We had a rocky spot on the front nine and our scores weren’t what we expected when we made the turn,” Clifford said.
However, the Crispin back nine is known in the golf circles as being gettable and the Red Devils seized control, firing an impressive 143 on the back. All five St. C. players shot significantly lower on the back nine, including sophomore Evan Fix and freshman Olivia Baker, who were both 10 shots better on the inward nine.
“That’s a pretty darn good score,” Clifford said of the 143. “You still have to go make putts for birdies and put yourself in a position to score.”
St. Clairsville garbled up four of the spots on the All-OVAC squad in the process of the tournament despite not producing the tournament champion, which was East Liverpool’s Nate Kelley, who posted an even-par, 71.
“I am really happy that the four scores we put up are going to make All-OVAC,” Clifford continued. “That’s a big deal to the kids.”
Leading the way for the Red Devils was sophomore lefty Brodi Foster, who finished as runner-up medalist with a round of 75.
Sophomore Andrew Abel was once again a model of consistency, firing a round of 77 to finish third. He was a shot ahead of Fix and Baker. Baker, a talented freshman, recorded an eagle on the par-5, 11th.
Ethan Turner rounded out the Red Devils’ lineup.
“I think each kid is capable, but we’ve not really gone really low yet,” Clifford said. “For them to play in this tournament and shoot that score is really good. It’s the second-lowest score we’ve shot here on the season, but with a whole lot more pressure. To put that pressure on yourself and still play well is impressive.”
Weir High’s Jude Smith finished with a score of 78 to earn an All-OVAC team spot.
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