By Josh Brown
ARCANUM — Troy and Butler’s boys golf teams proved themselves to be the early frontrunners in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division.
Now the question is whether or not the Trojans will be able to catch up come season’s end.
Troy, boasting a young team with only two returning varsity players from last year, posted a solid 322 at the preseason GWOC tournament at Beechwood Golf Course in Arcanum on Friday morning, finishing fifth overall and only five strokes behind fourth-place-overall Butler’s 317 to start the new season.
“Butler beat us today. That was a major goal, to get one on Butler early,” Troy boys golf coach Mark Evilsizor said. “But we had four guys plaing in their first-ever varsity match since yesterday’s was rained out. The preseason conference meet, talk about a big match to start with.
“The last couple years, we’ve scored better at the preseason GWOC than the post. I told the guys I don’t want us to be playing our best golf on August 7. We’re going to keep getting better. I’m not ecstatic – I thought we could have done better today. There’s going to be some growing pains with a team this young, but as they get comfortable, we’ll do much better.”
Meanwhile, the Troy girls golf team, which took the course later in the afternoon once the boys’ tournament was completed, also finished fifth overall in the standings with a 393 — but their finish was easily the best in the GWOC North Division.
Troy Moore led the Trojan boys with an odd-yet-great round, shooting a 73. He finished tied for third and one stroke behind the co-medalists, Wayne’s Bryce Haney and Springboro’s Austin Schoonmaker, who shot 72s. And the Troy senior did so after struggling with his putter.
“He three-putts three holes and four-putts one hole and still shoots 1-over-par. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a round like that,” Evilsizor said. “Overall, he obviously played really well. He’s going to be our leader this year, so for him to post a score like that is a great start.”
Freshman Holden Scribner also made a solid debut — particularly to start the match — and finished with a 78, tied for 14th overall.
“He started his high school career with a birdie on his first hole,” Evilsizor said. “Holden played really well. He went through a stretch where he cooled off a bit, but overall he had a good day.”
Sophomore returner Nate Uhlenbrock shot an 83 and sixth-man Ryan McClurg turned in the fourth score with an 88. Keaton Pfeiffer added a 92 and Tyler Lambert added a 93.
Springboro was the overall champion with a 299, Beavercreek was second with 308 and Centerville was third with 313.
Piqua led the other three GWOC North teams with a 13th-place finish with 372. Derek Jennings shot 85, Kyle Ingle shot 89, Derrick Gullett and Brennan Hicks both shot 99, Aaron Davis shot 107 and Spencer Lavey shot 142. Greenville with 14th with a 381 and Sidney was 15th with a 392.
On the girls’ side, Ali Helman and Natalie Henson led the all-senior Trojan team with a 96, tied for 15th overall and the only top-20 individual finishes for the Trojans. LeeAnn Black followed with a 99, Brooke Beeler shot 102 to finish off the scoring, Hannah Wright shot 103 and Mackenzie Pruitt shot 111.
Piqua was the next GWOC North team in the standings in ninth with a 465. Greenville was 10th with 482 and Butler was 11th with 496.
Centerville won the girls tournament with a 326, Springboro was second with 351 and Miamisburg and Lebanon were tied for third with 385.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.