Goecke wins 102nd Metropolitan Championship with record score

Tyler Goecke examined the Metropolitan Championship trophy Sunday afternoon and read the names of many former Wright State golfers engraved on the base of the sterling silver cup.

Goecke’s name will be the next one and the sixth straight former Raider.

“I’m glad I can add my name to the list,” Goecke said and smiled. “It’s something they’ve always had against me.”

The cup, which Goecke will keep for a while before returning it to the Miami Valley Golf Association for next year’s winner to show off, only has room for the year and his name. But if room existed to add anything else it would be the tournament record 19-under par 72-hole score he posted at Miami Valley Golf Club in the 102nd playing of the tournament.

Goecke’s nine-shot victory continued the Wright State run begun by former teammates Austin Schoonmaker in 2019 and 2020 and perpetuated by Bryce Haney in 2021 and Mikkel Mathiesen the past two years.

“It speaks to the level of Wright State golf the past eight years,” said Goecke, who was the Horizon League Player of the Year in 2022 and 2023. “We’ve had a big revival with the program.”

After fast starts fueled Goecke’s rounds of 67, 65 and 64 to build a six-shot lead, he didn’t make a birdie Sunday until the fourth hole. And on the par-4 No. 12, Goecke let runner-up Timmy Hollenbeck, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year this past season, back into the tournament.

After a long wait because of a rules discussion in the group ahead of Goecke’s, he chunked and hooked his second shot into the bushes along the boundary of the course.

“I was making a mess almost out on Salem Avenue,” Goecke said. “We had a long wait and I rushed up there and I really wanted to hit the shot.”

Goecke hit is next shot left-handed out of the bushes and the ball came to rest between two roots. He had no shot to get his next shot to the green. But just when the day could have completely fallen apart for Goecke, he turned it around. Forty yards from the flag he pitched the ball to within four feet, made the putt and the damage was limited to a double bogey. Hollenbeck was suddenly two shots back.

“I’m not really a scoreboard watcher,” Hollenbeck said. “So I really just kept my head in it and put good swings on the golf balls. And whatever happens, happens.”

Goecke’s five years of college experience and tie for second place in this spring’s NCAA championships showed over the final six holes.

“Walking to the next tee I just had to have a complete reset,” Goecke said. “There’s nothing I could do about it at that point. And with Timmy right there, I knew I had to keep making birdies.”

Goecke’s reset resembled the way he began the opening four holes in the first three rounds with nine birdies over those 12 holes. He birdied 14, 15, 17 and 18 on Sunday, while Hollenback saw three short putts lip out to stick him with bogeys on 14 and 17 and costing him a birdie on 15.

“I played great and put four solid rounds together,” Hollenbeck said. “I didn’t play well the last day, but that’s golf. Caught an unfortunate break on 14 with a 360 lip out, but you just got to keep grinding through it.”

Goecke expected Hollenbeck to put pressure on him despite entering the round with a six-shot lead.

“He played way better than his score suggested,” said Goecke, a Carroll High School grad. “We were neck and neck all day, and I expected it.”

Hollenbeck, who finished at 11-under, will get a shot to add his name to the cup next year and said he hopes to win. Goecke hopes to be playing pro golf next summer.

First he has to finish a busy summer at the Ohio Amateur in two weeks, get married in July, and play in the Western Amateur at the end of July at Moraine Country Club. In September he will begin the four-month trial of PGA Qualifying School.

The top five players after the fourth event in December will earn PGA Tour cards. Others will be playing for spots on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour Americas.

“That’s always been the goal for as long as I can remember,” Goecke said. “Within the last few years, it kind of gave me the idea that maybe I can do something with this, and hopefully I’m fortunate enough to do that.”

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