Eastwood golfers looking for upper division finish

Mark Griffin

Eastwood’s boys golf team didn’t waste any time jumping right into the 2019 season.
The Eagles, under veteran coach Mike Gardner, competed in four tournaments this week, starting with Monday’s 26-team Clyde Invitational at Green Springs Golf Course.
“We finished somewhere around 19th or 20th,” Gardner said. “That was the first tournament for most of them and we did not shoot well.”
Eastwood returns three lettermen from last year’s team, which finished second behind Genoa in the Northern Buckeye Conference last season. The Eagles graduated their top two players from last year in first-team All-NBC golfers Noah Hahn and Robbie Bettinger.
Senior Josh Hahn, who shot an 84 at the Clyde Invite, is a returning letterman along with senior Jacob Halko and junior Adam Graber. Hahn, a second-team All-NBC performer a year ago, averaged 43.3 strokes for nine holes as a junior.
“He played third man last year and helped us advance to the district tournament,” Gardner said. “This year, he’s definitely our No. 1. He is a little better putter this season and he looks smooth on the greens. His short iron play has improved. Like many golfers, he has to work on consistency. Once we get him consistent, he’s going to put up some really good numbers.”
Halko is Eastwood’s No. 2 golfer, according to Gardner. Halko earned honorable mention all-conference honors last season.
“He didn’t play a whole lot this summer,” Gardner said. “He’s a ‘bogey’ golfer, which is better than most golfers. He has days where he can shoot better than that, and we want to see a little improvement each week. If he can shoot a little better than bogey golf for average, that would be good. He will have some days where he’s really on.”
Gardner added that Graber’s best golf attributes are “chipping and pitching around the green.”
“He’s a good chipper,” the coach said. “That’s the best part of his game and we want to build on some of the other parts.”
Gardner said three freshmen and three sophomores will battle for the remaining starting spots. Eleven golfers came out for the team this summer.
“We’ve been in the high teens for years,” Gardner said. “That (11 players) is standard these days and that’s a pretty good number. Golf is one of the most difficult sports to play, perhaps the most difficult to reach the medium level.”
The Eagles are searching for their first conference title since 2005, when they repeated as Suburban Lakes League champions.
“Genoa, which has won the league the last couple years, has everyone back and reached the district last year,” Gardner said. “They are obviously the favorite. Woodmore, which was third in the league last year, has everyone back including the NBC Player of the Year. They are going to be very good. Those teams appear to be in a league of their own in the NBC. We hope to be in the upper division, but it’s going to take a lot of work from now until then.”


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