By David Fong
TROY — Holden Scribner is hungry.
Starving, as a matter of fact.
For the past four years, the Troy High School senior has been pining for a trip to the state golf tournament — in a metaphorical sense, he’s been so hungry to play at state that the hashtag #letholdeneat on social media actually has become an inside joke and rallying cry among friends and family members — and this weekend, Scribner finally will find satiety as he competes for the first time at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state golf tournament at The Ohio State University.
Play will take place Friday and Saturday at Ohio State’s Scarlet Golf Course. Scribner will tee off at 10:50 a.m. Friday.
“I’m very excited,” Scribner said. “I’ve been waiting four years for this. I probably started playing golf when I was 5 or 6. I think I played in my first tournament when I was 6 or 7. I played a lot of sports when I was a kid, but after eighth grade is when I truly got into golf and wanted to focus on that. Honestly, I probably had my eyes set on getting to state when I was still in junior high.”
Once Scribner decided golf was going to be his sport of choice, he truly threw himself into it, playing several rounds per week when the weather would allow, competing in dozens of tournaments during the summer months and spending countless hours on the course refining his game.
“In the summer, I’ll play three, four or five hours a day, usually five days a week,” he said. “A lot of people think I’m crazy, especially when I say I’m going to dip out of something to go play golf. But I know this is what I want to do with my life and I’m going to work for it.”
Troy boys golf coach Mark Evilsizor says he’s never coached anyone quite as dedicated as Scribner.
“Not even close,” Evilsizor said. “I’ve had kids before who have played in a few tournaments here and there, but nothing like Scribner. Every year I get a list of the tournaments he’s playing in from his parents, and it takes up my whole calendar. I’ve never had a young man who was quite that dedicated and into playing golf. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see all of that hard work paying off for him.”
Because for awhile, that hard work wasn’t paying off for Scribner — at least not to the level he had hoped. For the first three years of his career, the district tournament, which determines which golfers advance to the state meet, had been a stumbling block for Scribner. Year after year, he would play well during the season, only to see his chances of going to state fall short at districts.
At one point, the pressure and disappointment got to be so much that Scribner strongly considered walking away from the table altogether.
“My last couple of years, I would hit super big slumps,” Scribner said. “I actually thought about quitting at one point. Part of me just wanted to go to college, get a degree and get started on the rest of my life.”
Going into this season, Scribner and Evilsizor had a long talk about what he wanted to accomplish this year — and how he was going to go about doing it.
“For Holden, it’s kind of been ‘state-or-bust,’ and I think with every year, he felt that stress a little more,” Evilsizor said. “I know it definitely got to him at one point. He always had the ability to get to state, but I think sometimes the pressure got to him a little bit. This year, I felt like he had a really good mindset going into districts. He had a different focus about him. He felt good. He looked like a different kid out there.”
That focus would pay off for Scribner, who would finish in a four-way tie for the top spot at districts. Only the top three individuals advance to state, which meant the four golfers had to engage in a playoff, with the top three advancing. Scribner and two other golfers shot par on the playoff hole, while the fourth scored a bogey, which was enough to punch Scribner’s ticket to state.
Now that he’s going to state, Scribner isn’t just happy to be there. He said he wants to place high on the leaderboard and make the most of his lone appearance.
“I’m going there to compete,” he said. “I’m excited that I can go out and show my stuff.”
Scribner said he hopes “showing his stuff” is enough to impress the college coaches who will be in attendance this weekend and earn a chance to play golf at the college of his dreams.
“This weekend is super important going into the November early signing period,” he said. “They want to come and see me and see what I can do against this type of competition. I want to play golf in college. I’m excited about this opportunity.”
And, apparently, hungry for more.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong