Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – There was nothing overly exciting about the 18-hole round Ted Bridges put together on Friday at the Solon Invitational.
Except of course the final results.
Bridges birdied four of his final eight holes and won the individual title by a stroke over Central DeWitt’s Tanner Steffens with a one-under-par 71 on a sunny calm day at Lake Macbride Golf Course in Solon.
“It was pretty boring golf to be honest,” Bridges said of his round. “It was lots of fairways and greens and just making putts.”
For Bridges boring golf is good golf and Friday he was at his best.
Bridges consistently kept tee shots in the fairway and hit greens in regulation while posting a three-under-par 33 on the back nine to edge Steffen for medalist honors.
The West Branch senior was his usual steady self throughout his round that ended with eight pars and four birdies.
In the rare event that he found himself in trouble on Friday, Bridges came up with a shot that got him out of it like when chipped in to save par on his 10th hole of the day.
“He is the master of boring golf,” West Branch coach Randy Sexton said. “He has a very good short game and typically doesn’t get himself in much trouble but I have never seen a kid with the ability to scramble like he does when he has to.”
The individual title by Bridges combined with a fifth-place finish by freshman Dylan Countryman who fired a 77 helped West Branch to a runner-up team finish with a 309.
Central DeWitt had five players shoot 78 or better on its way to a meet record 299 and the team title.
Solon finished third with a 333 a year after winning its home meet and was led by Lucas TePoel who shot an 80 and Joe Stahle who finished with an 82.
Regina placed fifth with a 339 and was led by junior Mark Schomer who finished sixth with a 78.
“I was pleased today,” Solon coach Adam Stahle said. “We competed all day, it’s a different kind of competing than a lot of these kids are used to but we know we have some kids right now that are in new spots from where they were last year and we are trying to bring them along and they are doing a nice job.”
Bridges shot an 87 on the same course last season at the Solon Invite, a performance that left him outside the top 10 and had him chipping on the practice green immediately following his round.
That score hadn’t slipped Bridges’ memory on Friday.
“It feels kind of like redemption,” Bridges said. “Coming back here was definitely something I was looking forward to.”
After opening his round with back-to-back pars Bridges had bogeys on four of the final seven holes on the front nine and trailed Central DeWitt teammates Steffen and Drew Eden by two strokes at the turn.
Bridges was just getting warmed up.
“I wouldn’t say I was frustrated but definitely knew I could make improvements,” Bridges said. “I knew I left some strokes out there.”
He chipped in to save par on the par-four 10th and followed with consecutive birdies to get back to even par.
Following a bogey on the 17th Bridges sank a birdy putt on the par-four 18th to finish one under.
“A lot of it was on the greens,” Bridges said. “I had 17 putts on the front nine and only 12 on the back so that helped a lot.”
The 33 on the back nine matched the second lowest score for a West Branch golfer during the 23-year coaching career for Sexton with both coming at Lake MacBride Golf Course.
“Right away he said ‘all I could think about was how bad I played here last year’ so it was definitely on his mind,” Sexton said “It surprised me that he remember but he definitely remember that from a year ago.”
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