COLUMBUS — For all of Bobby Koch’s fight pumps and thigh slaps, about a month ago it all came together and his game has backed up the emotions.
That theme continued Friday and the timing couldn’t have been better.
Paced by an unorthodox 3-over-par 74 from the junior, Medina’s boys golf team sits in third place after Friday’s first round of the Division I state tournament.
Defending state champion Columbus St. Charles (303) has a commanding lead over St. Ignatius (319) and the Bees (320), so at this point Medina is aiming to stake its claim as the best team in Medina County history.
No area school has ever finished higher than sixth, which the Bees accomplished in 1994, 2005 and 2006.
“We know we can do better,” said Koch, who had 15 pars, two double bogeys and one birdie. “I played really well today. Ya, I’m not going to lie, but the whole team has carried me throughout the year, too, so it’s been a total team effort. We’re really happy with what we’ve achieved with our skills throughout the year.”
Koch sits alone in third individually after shooting 37s on each side of the par-71 Ohio State University Scarlet Course.
The third-year player found himself without any momentum after a double bogey on the par-5 sixth hole, yet rallied with two pars and a birdie to lead the team at the turn.
Then came two bunker shots that let Koch know he was feeling it.
Koch, whose putter was money all afternoon, saw his drive on No. 10 fade right, hit a tree and roll even farther to the right. He then hooked a 7-iron from 180 yards around a throng of lumber into an eight-foot deep greenside bunker, only to dig his way out and tap in for par.
“I was playing to go for the bunker,” Koch admitted. “I hit this great shot and drew it around into the bunker and got up-and-down, which was incredible.”
He wasn’t done.
Another bad drive on 11 rolled into a fairway bunker on the left. Koch responded with a powerful 177-yard 6-iron that landed 15 feet from the cup, which he two-putted for par.
“I didn’t think how deep that bunker was,” Koch said. “I thought, ‘You better get it over this lip or you’re screwed.’ I hit the shot absolutely incredible. I couldn’t even believe it when I hit the shot.”
Fellow junior Mike Bishop faded as the day wore on and held on for an 81, while sophomore Sean Sherman followed a similar script en route to his 82. Austin Schreiber added an 83 for the Bees, who set a county 18-hole record for a state round at the Scarlet Course.
“Obviously, our goal is to try to win, but it might be a little bit of a long shot,” Bishop said. “What we really want to do is maybe take second place. That’s what our big goal is.
“We can do it. We’ve been working our butts off at practice and preparing for this all along. Our whole team has put 100-percent effort and I know we can do it.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLUMBUS — Results from the first day of the 85th OHSAA Division I state tournament at the 7,043-yard, par-71 Ohio State University Scarlet Course.
Team standings: 1. Columbus St. Charles 303, 2. St. Ignatius 319, 3. Medina 320, 4. Dublin Jerome 323, 5. Cincinnati Moeller 326, 6. Dublin Coffman 326, 7. Stow 331, 8. Uniontown Lake 332, 9. Ashland 332, 10. Cincinnati St. Xavier 335, 11. Centerville 340, 12. Avon Lake 353.
Medina (320): Bobby Koch 37-37-74, Mike Bishop 39-42-81, Sean Sherman 39-43-82, Austin Schreiber 44-39-83, Patrick Luth 44-43-87.