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Prep golf: Williams falls short in medalist bid

WHEELING, W.Va. - Chris Williams' chase for Class AAA medal honors at the State Golf Championships bottomed out near the turn during Wednesday's final round.

The Winfield senior's final high school season was highlighted by multiple successes, including an American Junior Golf Association win in North Carolina where he shot 15-under par.

However, a tough stretch coupled with the steady hand of Wheeling Park sophomore Cole Hand, ended his hopes at Oglebay Park's Robert Trent Jones Course.

Through his first seven holes on Wednesday, Williams was 3-under for the day. He followed that with a bogey on No. 8, double bogeys on No. 9 and No. 10, and a 9 on No. 14.

Williams was tied with Hand going to No. 8 - a hole Hand bogeyed.

"I wasn't hitting the driver good all day," Williams said. "This whole week except for (Tuesday) I was hitting my driver really far right. It got me in trouble on 9, I hit out of bounds and 14, I hit two out of bounds.

"After the start I had I definitely could've won. This is the first time this year I finished this bad, which kinda stinks, but it makes you better in the long run."

As for Hand, his third shot on No. 8 shot past the hole and he failed to get up and down, resulting in a bogey.

He had six bogeys and four birdies to shoot a 74 after a tournament-best 72 on Tuesday.

"Normally I make a lot of birdies and make quite a few bogeys," Hand said. "That's just kind of how it goes, but if you can avoid the doubles and the big numbers, that's when I play good."

Two-time defending champion Thadd Obecny finished second with his round being dampened by a double bogey on No. 8.

University's Eric Wirth (148) and Cale Wheeler (152) finished third and fourth, respectively.

"My ball striking wasn't that good, which had something to do with the group I was in," Wheeler said. "I was grinding, trying to make putts ... oh, well.

"(Winning as a team) is awesome. Coming into this year I never imagined we could win states. Just goes to show, you never know."

* * *

POCA COACH Doug Smith has been guiding the Dots' program since 1985, and hasn't won a title. After Wednesday's second round, his team was second for the third consecutive year.

Last year, Poca lost to Ritchie County by three strokes, and, in 2010, finished behind the Rebels by five.

This time the Dots, who led by three strokes after the first round, lost by three to Roane County.

Travis Covert led Poca with a 158, finished third behind the Raiders' Alston Spears by two strokes and behind second-place Evan Smith of Bluefield by one stroke. Roane's Cam Moore shot a 163, earning All-State honors.

Poca freshman Alex Hamrick, the younger brother of two-time Class AA medalist George Hamrick, shot a 165.

Steve Loudermilk shot a 169 and Evan Butcher a 176 for the Dots.

"Always the bridesmaid," Smith said.

* * *

THE ALL-STATE teams are made up of the top eight finishers, and ties, in the individual results.

The Class AAA All-State team was made up of Wheeling Park's Cole Hand (1st) and Thadd Obecny (T2), University's Eric Wirth (T2), Cale Wheeler (4th) and Trent McPherson (T5), George Washington's Will Evans (T5), Winfield's Chris Williams (T7) and Cabell Midland's Jacob Beahrs (T7) and Seth Kinker (T7).

Class AA had Roane County's Alston Spears (1st) and Cam Moore (T7), Bluefield's Evan Smith (2nd), Poca's Travis Covert (3), Fairmont Senior's Nick Sinclair (4th) and Sterling Fitzwater (6th), James Monroe's Ike Judy (5th) and Ritchie County's Sydney Snodgrass (T7) and Nicholas County's Drew Ward (T7).

In Class A, Buffalo's Cory Hoshor (1st) led the way, and was joined on the All-State team by Charleston Catholic's Christian Casingal (2nd), Aaron Persily (3rd) and Jordan Covelli (8th), Madonna's Alex Colantonio (4th) and Michael Rogers (5th), Moorefield's Quincy Fraley (6th) and Tug Valley's Joe Deskins (7th).

* * *

GEORGE WASHINGTON got off to a slow start in Tuesday's first round but only trailed by 13 strokes. Two of its players - Kris Webster and Drew Call improved on the second day. Call, in fact, went from an 88 to an 81 on Wednesday. The best second-round improvement was by Elkins' Kelsi Trippett, who improved by 11 strokes.

In Class A, Richwood's Mason Mullens made up 13 strokes in the second round after shooting a 106 on Tuesday.

Wyoming East's Chase Pressley was 14 strokes better from Tuesday to Wednesday, shooting an 89 in the second round.

Also, there was only one single-round 100-stroke score in Class AAA - Trippett's 104 in the first round. Last year there were four.


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