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.