LEBANON – The Elco golf team didn’t capture, dominate or even own the Lebanon County Scholastic Championships. The Raiders swept it.
But perhaps most importantly, Elco went low – together.
On a scorching Tuesday afternoon at the 5,876-yard, par-71 Royal Oaks Golf Club, Elco claimed the team trophy of the annual championship of local scholastic golf in overwhelming fashion. Spearheaded by medalist Cody Tobias, the Raiders’ three ‘counters’ posted the event’s three lowest scores, by four strokes.
Tobias fired an even-par 71, teammate Blaine Weaver carded a one-over par 72 and Ryan Woelfling counted 73 shots. It was the second year in-a-row that Tobias was crowned as Lebanon County’s scholastic individual champion and the second straight season the Raiders won the team trophy.
Individually, Cougar Brandon Shirk and his 76 was fourth, Falcon Nolan Hoover’s 77 tied Palmyra’s Quentin Leonard for fifth place and Cedar Crest’s Brock Smith and Northern Lebanon’s Alex Yeager totaled 79s. Palmyra’s Kelsey McConaghy fired a 91 to capture the County’s girls’ individual title.
Rarely in the 20-plus year history of the event has a team champion sported the three lowest individual scores.
“I think they were kidding when they said didn’t have to bring the trophy along,” said Elco head coach Dave Meyer. “But there was a level of self-assuredness. I’m very pleased, because for some of them, it’s their last official (scholastic) match. They’re all talented in different phases of the game. As a group, no one was pleased with how things went yesterday (at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships). It was the old would’ve-could’ve-should’ve.
“They’re capable, but it was close to the best rounds they could’ve played,” continued Meyer. “The good news is when you shoot 71, 72, 73 there’s not too many holes to lament about. It makes it more fun and easier to do when it means something to them. It’s so much easier to do when you have a level of commitment.”
“It really couldn’t have gone better, except for maybe a three-way playoff for the individual title,” said Tobias. “It was just a team effort today. We didn’t know what every other team was doing. But we knew we were playing well.
“Since all of us didn’t play our best (at the league tournament), this was the last time playing together as a team,” added Tobias. “We thought, ‘We might as well make it a good one.’ There’s no next year now.”
Like many good rounds, the key to Tobias’ was the start.
Beginning on Number Four, Tobias registered four birdies on his first six holes – a short one at the par-four sixth, a six-footer at the par-five seventh, a 15-footer at the par-three eighth and a three-footer at the par-five ninth. Tobias got his round to five-under par with a ten-foot birdie at the 370-yard, par-four 12th.
“The key was a quick start,” said Tobias. “What I was thinking coming here was how I was going to play each hole. I definitely played well. At the league tournament, I was eight-over after the first four holes. Today, Coach told me to start out strong. That’s what I did.”
“If he can keep the ball in the proximity of the golf course, he’s a freak of nature, with his swing and soft hands,” said Meyer of Tobias. “When he struggles he gets in trouble with big numbers. A huge part of this game is being able to control your ball.”
Tobias did come back down to earth on his second nine.
“It gives me room to make bogeys,” said Tobias of his start. “I had a lot of room to play with. I was trying to be aggressive, and it didn’t pay off.
“It means a lot, but a league championship would’ve been better,” continued Tobias. “But it still means a lot. It was a team effort today, two years in-a-row too. The trophy was locked up.”
“For two of the three, this is it,” said Meyer of his seniors. “This is their high school career. If there’s one thing about kids, it’s they’re resilient. Golf is such a game of feel. If that feel is missing or you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to do well. Golf’s a hard sport, a hard sport to play well on a consistent basis.”
Not unlike Tobias, Woelfling went out fast, and then came back to the pack. He was four under par through a dozen holes, then endured three straight bogeys on his back nine.
Weaver’s round was a bit more even keel. Never straying too far from par, Weaver had a chance to match his personal-best score of 71, but he three-putted his final hole of the afternoon – the 291-yard, par-four second.
“I think these three kids will be playing golf ten years from now,” said Meyer. “There’s a lot of reasons why kids don’t want to play. I think it’s a sign of our time. Kids don’t like being in the heat. They don’t like carrying their own bags. They have a lot of things competing for their time. This is a hard sport to play well. You have to put a lot of time in. You can’t play a fast round of golf in four hours.”
“I want to try and get on one of the (professional golf) tours,” said Tobias, who is considering a future in turf management. “It’s tough to do, but I want to try. I see myself playing golf my whole life. I’d like to see myself make a living playing golf.”
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Annual Lebanon County Scholastic Golf Tournament
(at par-71, 5,876-yard Royal Oaks Golf Club)
Boys Individual results
Cody Tobias, Elco 71
Blaine Weaver, Elco 72
Ryan Woelfling, Elco 73
Brandon Shirk, Palmyra 76
Nolan Hoover, Cedar Crest 77
Quinton Leonard, Palmyra 77
Brock Smith, Cedar Crest 79
Alex Yeager, Northern Lebanon 79
Andrew Alquist, Palmyra 82
Mason Moore, Annville-Cleona 82
Cole Felty, Northern Lebanon 88
Mark Gates, Lebanon Catholic 88
Luke Spangler, Northern Lebanon 93
Enzo Emerich, Cedar Crest 96
Willy Earp, Cedar Crest 98
Ben Miller, Annville-Cleona 99
Jeremy Seyfert, Annville-Cleona 100
Ben Fiebig, Annville-Cleona 103
Dawson Blouch, Lebanon 106
Andrew Loy, Northern Lebanon 108
Harry Schappell, Lebanon 113
Ty Griffiths, Lebanon 117
Hunter Hetrick, Lebanon 124
Girls Individual Results
Kelsey McConaghy, Palmyra 91
Danika Boltz, Elco 99
Emma Dissinger, Cedar Crest 99
Kerrigan Klopp, Cedar Crest 109
Riley Danielwicz, Cedar Crest 151
Final Team Scores
2. Palmyra 235
3. Cedar Crest 252
4. Northern Lebanon 260
5. Annville-Cleona 281
6. Lebanon 336