COLUMBUS — The Highland girls golf team is out of contention for the Division I state championship.
The defending runner-up got off to an uncharacteristically slow start at Friday’s first round on the Ohio State University Golf Club’s Gray Course. The Hornets sit ninth with a 346 score and would be in worse shape if not for an 11-over-par 81 from No. 1 Chloe McKinzie.
Magnificat is the surprise leader at 310, followed by two-time defending champion Dublin Jerome (313) and Massillon Jackson (323).
Wadsworth senior Alice Ho fired 78 and is well within All-Ohio contention in 13th, while Medina freshman Mindy Herrick (85) is tied for 39th.
“I think the conditions were pretty tough out there and the scores reflected it,” McKinzie said. “We all battled it out and we’ll play a lot better (today).”
If anything, Highland was consistent, as it made the turn at 172 and couldn’t make up much ground on the statistically easier front nine.
Madison Butler (43-44—87), Hallie Schuld (44-45—89) and Karly Alexander (45-44—89) rounded out the scoring.
“It was a lot longer than we’re used to for the whole season,” McKinzie said of the muddy 5,800-yard layout. “Nothing’s rolling out, so that made it even longer.”
While Highland didn’t have a specific goal other than to play to its potential, that has changed heading into this morning.
A top-half finish is now on the Hornets’ radar. There’s plenty of work to do to even accomplish that, however, as they trail No. 6 Cincinnati St. Ursula by 14 strokes.
“We’re going to be a little more used to the course now that we’ve played it,” McKinzie said. “We still want to be top five or six — in the middle of the pack — and everyone wants to play better.”
Ho played in the same group as Herrick, started on the more difficult back nine and was consistent with 39s on each side. The three-time state participant also avoided the big numbers, as she recorded eight pars, a birdie on the par-5 eighth hole and nine bogeys.
Ho is seven strokes behind leader Erin Harper of Columbus Bishop Watterson, but only three behind first-team All-Ohio status.
“It’s really good to shoot in the 70s today because not a lot of people went low,” she said. “I saved a lot of strokes, but I could have hit better iron shots.
“I had a lot of bogeys because of the yardage. It’s a little longer, so I would say my short game saved me.”
Herrick hit a snag right away by going 6 over through five holes. A birdie on No. 15 stopped the bleeding and led to two pars heading into the turn, but she couldn’t keep the momentum and shot 45 on the front.
Herrick’s score is fourth-best among ninth-graders despite the uneven performance.
“It was a rough day,” she said. “The greens were really fast, and they were faster than during my practice round. I played pretty well overall except my putting. My short game was killing me. I practiced that, and hopefully I’ll get back into that tomorrow.
“My goal is play as best as I can and stay below the hole because there’s a lot of sloped greens.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
COLUMBUS — Results from the 21st Division I state tournament at the 5,800-yard, par-70 Ohio State University Gray Course.
Team standings: 1. Rocky River Magnificat 310, 2. Dublin Jerome 313, 3. Massillon Jackson 323, 4. Dublin Coffman 324, 5. Mason 327, 6. Cincinnati St. Ursula 332, 7. Cincinnati Sycamore 333, 8. Kent Roosevelt 338, 9. Highland 346, 10. Toledo St. Ursula 347, 11. Canfield 358, 12. Perrysburg 372.
Highland (346): Chloe McKinzie 81, Madison Butler 87, Rachel Horvath 89, Karly Alexander 89, Rachel Horvath 90.
County individuals: Alice Ho (Wadsworth) 78, Mindy Herrick (Medina) 85.