HINCKLEY TWP. — Veteran Medina golfers Caden Pittman and Ian Dorman strolled the practice green following their rounds Monday at the Brunswick Tee Off Classic and worked on putting while having a casual conversation about how fast Pine Hills Golf Club played.
Initially, the experienced Bees were disappointed with a 337 in the season-opening tournament. Those concerns faded as the other scores trickled in, as Medina finished a respectable sixth out of 18 teams.
Walsh Jesuit (305) and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (311) ran away with the top two spots, but third through ninth ranged from 331 to 347 as recent dry weather turned what is considered one of the toughest courses on the high school circuit into a true challenge.
“Greens were tough, greens were fast,” Pittman said. “It was tough to land chips. You’d land them as soft as possible and they’re still going to roll far. It was tough to get up and down.
“I would try to not look back on the scores. We just need to focus more on playing well.”
Three-year starter Pittman led the Bees, who figure to challenge for the Greater Cleveland Conference championship, with a 9-over-par 81. Junior Blake Shienkaruk, last season’s breakout player, was one stroke behind, while fellow returning starters Dorman (84) and John Varley (90) also scored.
Medina was without All-Gazette pick and four-year starter Colin McClowry, who placed sixth at tryouts. The Brunswick Tee Off Classic had only five players per team, and the Bees expect McClowry to return Wednesday at their Walker Jones Classic.
Add that to the difficult conditions — the temperature also pushed 90 degrees — and the Bees weren’t looking too much into their total.
“We all have great chemistry and work well as a team,” Pittman said. “I just feel like we have so much potential to play really great.”
Brunswick and Highland won the GCC and Suburban League American Conference last season but were gutted by graduation. The scores reflected such, as the Blue Devils were 12th with a 356 and the Hornets were 13th with a 366.
Hillsdale basketball recruit Kyle Goessler (85), Clay Greiner (87) and Alex Heilburn (88) — all newcomers — broke 90 for Brunswick, while returning letterwinners Cooper Hrabak (79) and Nathan Fousek (86) did the same for Highland.
Hrabak was the top countian. The junior, who made a big impact with a 77 at the 2017 SL American Tournament, figures to be the team’s ace.
“It was all right,” said Hrabak, who birdied the toughest hole, No. 6. “I’m trying to step up for the team and do what I can. I didn’t make all the putts and didn’t get the greatest looks because my distance control was a little bit (off). I needed sharper distance control, but overall I’m hoping to get better every time. I really liked my driving. When I needed to, I stepped up with drives, even in tough fairways.”
Wadsworth (377) was 14th behind Garrett Boyes’ 89.
Brunswick Tee Off Classic
at par-72 Pine Hills G.C.
Standings: 1. Walsh Jesuit 305, 2. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 311, 3. Strongsville 331, 4. Massillon Perry 333, 5. North Royalton 334, 6. Medina 337, 7. Rocky River 342, 8. Solon 346, 9. Mentor 347, 10. Willoughby South 348, 11. Painesville Riverside 354, 12. Brunswick 356, 13. Highland 366, 14. Wadsworth 377, 15. Green 381, 16. Padua 381, 17. Nordonia 388, 18. Massillon 401.
Medina (337): Caden Pittman 81, Blake Shienkaruk 82, Ian Dorman 84, John Varley 90, Kyle Salamon 96.
Brunswick (356): Kyle Goessler 85, Clay Greiner 87, Alex Heilburn 88, Cody Merrill 96, Connor McDonough 104.
Highland (366): Cooper Hrabak 79, Nathan Fousek 86, Jack Hoynes 98, Grant Coyner 103, Joey Alcini DQ.
Wadsworth (377): Garrett Boyes 89, Matt Moore 90, Connor Ross 98, Jordan Theders 100, Logan Reeves 108.