Genoa golfers on a roll in Northern Buckeye matches

Mark Griffin

Wednesday was just like every other day for Genoa golf coach Mike DeStazio’s squad when it hit Tanglewood Golf Course against its Northern Buckeye Conference brethren.
The Comets shot a team score of 167 to win the second of four “shootouts” the conference teams will compete in together this season. Junior Tommy Giles led Genoa by shooting a 2-under 39, while senior Ethan Smith shot 40, senior Isaac Simmons shot 41 and senior Brock Pollauf and junior Joey Large both shot 47. Senior Michael Rightnowar added a score of 49.
The victory marked the Comets’ 12th straight win against NBC competition, including shootouts and the season-ending NBC tournament. Genoa is aiming for its third straight conference championship this season, but there are still two shootouts remaining – this week at Birch Run and at Maumee Bay – and the NBC tournament Sept. 17 at Green Hills in Clyde.
The Comets won the first NBC shootout this season, at Lakeland Golf Course in Fostoria.
Genoa has competed in seven tournaments this season and won two of them. The Comets have also taken second place, finished third twice, taken sixth once and finished in 10th place at a tournament dominated by Division I teams.
Genoa returned six players from last year’s team that, not counting tournaments, had an 18-hole average of 340. This year, the Comets’ 18-hole average has dipped to 326.
“My top three players, any one of them could be our No. 1,” said DeStazio, in his sixth season. “That’s what makes this team so strong. They’re also all a year older, and in golf that makes a big difference.”
Smith, Simmons and Pollauf were all first-team All-NBC performers last season. Smith also made first team all-district after averaging 82 strokes as a junior. He has a 79.9 average this season.
“Ethan’s been playing golf since he could walk,” DeStazio said. “It’s the only sport he plays. I think not playing so much (in the offseason) is why he’s playing better. He cut back and I see him still being hungry to play golf. Last year it seemed like he had no gas left in his tank. The work ethic and his mental preparation for the game are why he’s better.”
Simmons, an honorable mention all-district performer a year ago, has dropped his average from 85 last season to 79.9 this season.
“It’s his maturity,” DeStazio said. “He plays a lot with his dad at Belmont. He has all the tools. He might be the best golfer I have. The maturity was not there last year. It was easy for him to get frustrated when things went bad last year, and he doesn’t do that anymore. He just got a little older.”
Pollauf was also an honorable mention all-district performer last season. He has an 89.7 average this season.
“Brock might be the strongest kid I’ve ever coached in golf,” DeStazio said. “Brock is a hard-working kid. I would like to see him put in more time this summer. He wanted to dedicate his summer to working a lot, and I don’t think he got a chance to work on his golf game like the others. He’s a great kid. You would take six of him if you could pick a team. He’s a late bloomer in the season and we’re still counting on him to get better.”
Giles, a second-team All-NBC golfer last season, has taken nearly eight strokes off his average, from 88 last season to 80.6 this season.
“Part of it is maturity,” DeStazio said. “He got more dedicated this summer to working on his golf game. His dad (Tom) was the golf coach here and has worked with Tommy, and he is bigger and stronger this year. Right now he’s playing as well as anybody on the team. He might be as good as anybody in the league right now. It’s all coming together.”
Rightnowar averaged 96 last season and earned honorable mention all-conference honors. He has trimmed his average down to 91 this season, while Large has seen his average go from 95 last year to 92.5 this season.
“Rightnowar just started playing as a sophomore,” DeStazio said. “Basketball is his first love. If he put as much time into golf as basketball, he’d be a better golfer. That’s not a negative. He’s a fine young man out there, a competitor. One more year with him and you’d probably see him in the mid-80s.
“Joey will be a much better golfer next year,” DeStazio added. “He’s playing under the wings of my top three golfers, and it’s hard for anybody to compete with them. He has a lot of potential and he’s a long hitter. He’s going to be pretty good next year.”


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