Waterford shines at home invitational; MHS third

BEVERLY – As far as the annual Waterford Invitational is concerned, not much has changed in the past year.

For the second year in a row, the Waterford Wildcats claimed first place at their home invite in their respective division (White). Also for the second consecutive year, Marietta golfer Nick Thieman claimed medalist honors, shooting the only under-par score of the afternoon (2 under, 68). However, the Tigers were unable to duplicate their first place performance from last year, finishing third in the Green Division this time around.

“Two points separated first and third place,” Marietta head coach John Doughty noted. “It’s nice to have a score of 308 this early in the season. We’ve still got a lot of things to work on, but all in all, a good score today.”

Marietta’s 308 was two strokes behind Green Division champion Logan and one stroke behind runner-up New Lexington. Warren turned in a team score of 312, good for fourth place which was fine with head coach Nathan Evans.

“That’s our best score of the year,” Evans said. “I keep telling them that we’re a very young team and we’re getting better each day.”

Waterford shot 318 as a team to edge second place Belpre (320). The Wildcats’ team score was 26 strokes better than their score of 344 at last year’s invite.

“The team played real solid golf,” said Waterford head coach Josh Arnold.

“I think we’re starting to find a little groove. The kids are relaxed. A couple of them still didn’t have the type of day they wanted, so if we ever get all six scores thrown in there, it’s scary how good this team can be.”

Even though the Tigers’ official home course is Marietta Country Club, Thieman feels right at home at Lakeside.

“I play here a lot in the summer and get a lot of practice here,” Thieman said. “It’s just a good course. I like it. It fits my game well. I’ve always played well here.”

Thieman shot a 73 at last year’s Waterford Invitational to earn co-medalist honors, but cleaned his score up a bit this year to come away with easily the best performance of the outing.

“I got up and down every time,” Thieman said. “Never had a bogey. Had 16 pars and two birdies.”

On top of being the medalist, Thieman was also named to the all-tournament team along with teammate Jeff Hensler, Warren’s Kyler Dennis, New Lexington’s Alex Harley and Logan’s Jake Barstow.

Hensler’s 72 was second behind only Thieman for Marietta while Dennis turned in the same score to lead the Warriors.

“Dennis had an outstanding day,” Evans said. “Overall, I’m happy with how everybody played today.”

Max Hapney shot a 79, Nick Ward an 80 and Drew Simms an 81 to contribute to Warren’s overall score.

Adding to Thieman’s and Hensler’s scores for Marietta was Garrett Bertram (80) and Max Fitzgerald (85).

For Waterford, Bosner’s 74 led the way, while Jordan Welch (81), Josh Stewart (81) and Brent Ginther (82) all hovered around 80 to keep Waterford’s score fairly low.

“Everyone came in low 80s,” said Bosner, who was named to the all-tournament second team along with Logan’s Logan Holbrook, New Lexington’s Brandon Metzger, Rosecrans’ Elliot Start and Maysville’s Luke Engle.

“It was good. We did good as a team. Could be better, but it was good for our second tournament.”

After a sketchy start, Bosner’s day could have went in a completely different direction, but he kept griding and found some rhythm and gained confidence.

“I had few bad holes. I had a double (bogey) and a triple on the front, but after that came back with a few birdies and kept it going.”

Bosner’s strength Wednesday was his “putting, for the most part,” he said. “I missed a few birdie putts around the edge, but other than that, I kept it pretty close with two-putts.”

Waterford was able to hold off a scrappy Belpre team, led by Sam Petty’s 77 and Alex Perry’s 78. Jackie Cunningham added an 82 and Brice Ferrell shot an 83 to come in at 320, two strokes behind the Wildcats.

“They’re a solid team,” Arnold said of the Golden Eagles. “They really handed it to us the other day at Oxbow (Golf and Country Club).

“Any round of golf where we can keep up with Belpre and be right there, win or lose, means we’re playing good golf.”