Giles comes through to lead Genoa to co-championship

J. Patrick Eaken

Genoa golfer Tommy Giles is the Northern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year  as his Comets and the Woodmore Wildcats finished as league co-champions. 

It is the second straight year the NBC POY came from Genoa. Last year it was Ethan Smith, who led his team to the state tournament.

This year, Genoa and Woodmore had a league score of 44 points each, followed by Eastwood (36), Lake (32), Otsego (23), Rossford (18) and Elmwood (13). The Comets managed to save the co-championship by winning the league’s 18-hole tournament after Woodmore won three of four of the nine-hole shootouts.

It is Genoa’s fourth straight league championship and first for Woodmore in seven years. 

The season was highlighted by fierce competition between Giles and Woodmore golfer Danny Greenhill, both seniors. Giles took medalist honors at three of the league tournaments and Greenhill was medalist at the other two.

In league play, Giles averaged 37.5 points per nine holes and he is joined on the first team by his teammate, Joey Large (42.4), Greenhill averaged 38.6.

Woodmore coach Rodger Jimison said Greenhill and Giles had a friendly rivalry going all season long. The two have combined to win NBC POY honors the last three years and both are now putting their sights on reaching the state tournament.

“They get along pretty well. They played together a lot this year. They played with each other in three of the four shootouts, and then obviously in the tournament,” Jimison said.

Longtime Eastwood coach Mike Gardner (49th season) noted before the season began that Giles and Greenhill were “special players.” Genoa first-year coach Chris Katafiasz knew that Giles had it in him to finish strong.

At Green Hills Golf Course in Clyde, Genoa won the league tournament as Giles shot 41-38—79, Large shot 38-46—84, Jake Ewerson shot 45-47—92, and John Huston scored 44-45—89 for a team score of 344, nine strokes better than Woodmore (353).

“Individually, Tommy Giles has been working toward his goal of being the 2020 NBC Player of the Year since the end of the 2019 season. He practiced throughout the year multiple times per day from the course to the driving range to his own backyard,” Katafiasz said.

“He knew whoever had a better score between himself and Woodmore’s Danny Greenhill at the league championship would be Player of the Year. Throughout the round the two were no more than a couple of strokes apart and following matching birdies on the 16th hole, Tommy knew the final two holes would decide the winner. 

“He was able to par the 17th hole and drain a 10-foot par putt on the 18th to seal the victory. The team really relied on his leadership and drive all season and he is well deserving of the title of NBC Player of the Year.”

Katafiasz took pride in his team’s ability to turn the tables at the tournament.

“I am proud of the work the team put in this season, how they played during crunch time and to have earned a share of the 2020 NBC league championship with Woodmore,” said Katafiasz.

“We felt all season that if we remained focused on our goal, continued to improve each day and peaked at the right time we would have a good chance of winning the league for a fourth straight year. As we progressed through the league shootouts we slowly closed the gap with Woodmore and knew that if we beat them at the league tournament we would have at least a share of the league title. 

“In the practices leading up to the tournament we talked about playing the course smart, limiting the number of wasted shots and trusting the golf games we spent all season polishing.”

Katafiasz said it was a team victory, too.

“Senior captain Tommy Giles led the charge by sharing with the team course knowledge, swing tips and how to be mentally tough. Senior Joey Large had his ups and downs this season but really came through in the clutch on tournament day and showed everyone why he was our No. 2 man and deserving of first team all league honors,” Katafiasz said.

“Freshman Jon Huston played up a roster spot at the tournament and his work ethic, maturity, and deep desire to help the team win the league led to a season-low round and was our third best team score. Sophomore Jake Ewersen played well and was our fourth team scorer while senior Liam Mazur and sophomore Ian Wilcox brought in solid scores as well in case we went to a fifth score tiebreaker.”

Katafiasz was Genoa’s junior varsity boys coach from 2016-18 and helped make the program what it is today. Last year’s team, under then-head coach Mike DeStazio, qualified for the Division III state tournament. After DeStazio left the post, he decided that he could not stay away from coaching golf and is currently the head boys coach at Lake.












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