Alter runner-up at Division II state boys golf

Alter freshman Davis Gochenouer hits a tee shot during Saturday's Division II state tournament on Ohio State University's Scarlet Course. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

COLUMBUS – The Alter boys golf team didn’t get the trophy it wanted at the Division II tournament Saturday, but the Knights aren’t complaining about the way they played.

Alex Schuster’s team finished second for the second straight year behind the Columbus Academy dynasty, and freshman Davis Gochenouer shared the runner-up spot with Greeneview senior Mason Witt.

Columbus Academy shot a Division II course record 300 in Friday’s first 18-hole round. Alter wasn’t unhappy with its 315.

“How are you going to contend with that?” Schuster said. “But we played hard and today we went shot for shot with them and made the most of the round.”

The Knights carded a 314 Saturday to finish at 629. Columbus Academy shot 315 for a 615 total, and boasted individual champion Stephen Ma, who shot rounds of 71 and 73 to beat Witt and Gochenouer by three shots.

“It’s good to come out and play and walk home with a trophy,” Schuster said. “We played consistent both days. I honestly can’t say we played poorly. The Columbus Academy team is just an incredible team.”

Gochenouer finished a postseason surge with rounds of 73 and 74. He won the sectional and district tournaments in leading Alter to its fourth straight state appearance.

“It’s pretty cool,” Gochenouer said. “I didn’t really have any expectations. I just tried to put two good rounds together. Most of the tournaments early in the year just prepared me for the tournaments later in the season. I feel like I just progressively got better and everything improved.”

Alter’s other Saturday scores that counted were a 78 by senior John Lunne, a 79 by junior Tommy Grawe and an 83 by senior Colin Scheimann.

Witt, who was state runner-up as a freshman, was trying to be the 20th player in 93 years of state tournament golf to add his name to the list of two-time medalists that includes Jack Nicklaus and 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis. Two others have won three titles.

“I feel good – I feel like I played good,” Witt said. “A couple things here and there I wish I could have back but everybody does. Still being able to come out tied for second is awesome. Sure, I wanted to win, but you can’t always win.”

Witt closes his Greeneview career with a state championship and two runner-up finishes.

“To be able to come up here and well every single time is a great accomplishment,” he said.

Greeneview coach Paul Thompson said, “It’s been fantastic to watch him, and it’s been an honor to be able to call myself his coach.”

Oakwood, making its 12th straight state appearance, shot 318 Friday on the strength of Tom McCarthy’s 76 and Wright Chen’s 79. The Lumberjacks, however, couldn’t hold on to third place. A 334 with a best score of 80 by Dan Flannery dropped the Jacks to fifth place.

“We struggled today,” Oakwood coach Jen Lohmeyer said. “Nerves. Mentally, physically tired. I don’t what else to say except it’s a challenging course.”

Lohmeyer knows the course well and said it was in great shape. And while here players were disappointed in Saturday’s results, senior Jonah Cunningham enjoyed the two days.

“It was definitely playing harder than it was on Friday,” he said. “Friday there were a lot of generous pins. But they definitely made it harder on us today. A lot of tougher pins, a lot of thicker rough. It was a fun course to play. I enjoyed it.”

Alter’s girls team finished sixth on the Gray Course. Gabbie Houpt led the Knights on Friday with an 81 and finished 23rd overall. Fiona Hoskins led the Knights on Saturday with an 86 and finished 27th.

St. Henry senior Ellie Naumann had rounds of 76 and 74 to place seventh. Liz Miller of Legacy Christian shot 79 and 84 to finish 14th.

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