SIDNEY — Anna junior Zach Watren led the Rockets to first place in the annual County Golf Tournament Thursday, this year held at Shelby Oaks.
Watren owned the first nine holes, shooting a 3-under par 33, and went on to finish with an even-par 72 for medalist honors. It also earned him the County Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year when paired with his performance during five dual meets this season.
Watren was runner-up in last year’s County tourney to Fort Loramie’s Brad Gottemoeller. On Thursday, it was Gottemoeller finishing second to Watren after shooting a 78.
Anna posted a 323 to win by 13 strokes over Russia with 336. Fort Loramie was third with 345, five strokes better than Fairlawn.
“I started out well with a par, and I was feeling good after that,” said Watren. “Then I followed that with two birdies.”
He went to four and missed a three-foot putt for bogey, but kept his focus and came back with a birdie on five and an eagle on six to put him at 4-under. He then bogeyed seven but finished the front nine with two pars for a 33.
He said he was in protection mode on the back nine, playing for pars. And he wound up with a 39 to give him his final even-par score.
“My putting wasn’t as good on the back nine,” he said. “But overall, my irons were really good, and I putted well. And I was able to keep my drives in the fairway.”
Teammates Ryan Smelewski and Mason Platfoot came in with 83s, and Eli Kuck added an 85.
“We typically do well with our one and two golfers,” said Anna coach Brandon Cobb. “But the other kids really came through. Eli has been struggling lately, so it was great to see him play as well as he did. And Mason Platfoot, he’s playing varsity golf for the first time, and for him to have that kind of round and step up for us the way he did was really big.”
The final standings, which take the tournament and the dual matches, wound up in a tie for first between Anna and Russia, both at 11-1. And for Russia, that is now seven consecutive years and eight of the last nine that the Raiders have either won or tied for the league championship.
“It felt good to finish ahead of Russia today,” said Watren. “They’ve been the defending champions as long as I’ve played. And you definitely want to try to play your best when you’re playing them.”
Cobb, meanwhile, is hoping the tournament championship will give his Rockets a shot of confidence heading into postseason play. They won’t be seeing any of the teams they went up against Thursday because Anna has moved up to Division II this season.
“Not sure what to expect there,” he said. “But it’s a whole new ball game. But if we can play the way we did today, I feel good about it.”
Russia’s Zach Sherman was third with an 81, and Jackson Center’s Bryce Sosby and Fairlawn’s Mason Jones tied for fourth-best scores with 82. Then came Smelewski and Platfoot of Anna to give the Rockets three of the top seven scores.
County Golf Meet
Thursday at Shelby Oaks
Final standings — 1. Anna 323, 2. Russia 336, 3. Fort Loramie 345, 4. Fairlawn 350, 5. Jackson Center 358, 6. Houston 369, 7. Botkins 398
(Top 4 figure in team total)
Anna — Zach Watren 33-39—72, Mason Platfoot 44-39—83, Ryan Smelewski 38-45—83, Eli Kuck 44-41—85, Ross Pulfer 42-50—92, Robby Boyd 49-48—97.
Russia — Zach Sherman 40-41—81, Dylan Cordonnier 41-43—84, Jonah Counts 44-41—85, Jack Dapore 42-44—86, Connor Monnin 42-44—86, Gunnar Young 48-46—94.
Fort Loramie — Brad Gottemoeller 37-41—78, Craig Eilerman 43-44—87, Connor Rose 44-45—89, Tanner Rosengarten 46-45—91, Aaron Schwartz 46-48—94, Shea Swick 50-46—96.
Fairlawn — Mason Jones 37-45—82, Ben Brautigam 43-46—89, Nathan Lessing 44-45—89, Kyle Noble 42-48—90, Kody Kurtner 49-42—91, Jacob Caldwell 48-45—93.
Jackson Center — Bryce Sosby 41-41—82, Drew Sosby 48-39—86, Brady Wildermuth 44-50—94, Coltin Rose 47-49—96, Trent Platfoot 54-46—100, Fred Bunke 51-56—107
Houston — Nick Shoemaker 43-44—87, Zach Freytag 45-46—91, Zach McKee 47-45—92, Cameron Via 49-50—99, Tristin Stangel 54-49—103, Deion Booher 54-54—108.
Botkins — Josh Miller 41-44—85, Erik Greve 43-43—86, Anthony Opperman 54-59—13, Nick Fischio 55-61—116, Justin Williamson 60-54—114; Jacob Cooper 69-74—143.
Final overall standings
League meet and duals — 1. (tie) Anna, Russia 11-1, 3. Fort Loramie 8-4, 4. Fairlawn 6-6, 5. Jackson Center 4-8, 6. Houston 2-10, 7. Botkins 0-12.
First team — Zach Watren, Anna; Brad Goettemoeller, Fort Loramie; Zach Sherman, Russia; Mason Platfoot, Anna; Josh Miller, Botkins; Jonah Counts, Russia.
Second team — Bryce Sosby, Jackson Center; Jack Dapore, Russia; Ryan Smelewski, Anna; Connor Monnin, Russia; Drew Sosby, Jackson Center; Mason Jones, Fairlawn, Nathan Lessing, Fairlawn.
Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818