By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
While the fog and the chill of the first full day of fall drifted through the fairways at Bridgeport Country Club, so, too, did the sounds of golf clubs smacking golf balls.
Yes, it was the Big 10 Championship, and the standout from Marion County might surprise you.
It wasn’t East Fairmont, which won the county match last week and finished fifth overall with a 263. And it wasn’t North Marion, who has shown spots of productiveness and finished fourth overall with a 261.
It was Fairmont Senior, led by two seniors and bolstered by a freshman, who took second with a score of 256.
Coming into the match, Fairmont Senior coach Luke Corley said he hoped one of his other guys would step up and post a solid score. He also said his top two guys knew they needed to shoot good to get individual awards.
After the match, both his statements were true.
His top two players, Bailey Mohr and Gage Hannah, shot an identical score of 81, which is just about spot on with their season averages.
“They played great all year,” Corley said of his top two guys. “We came out today and all shot really well.”
Mohr had a rocky start, shooting bogey, bogey and double bogey on his first three holes of the day. But he quickly bounced back and had a strong finish.
“I parred out the front nine, but it was just a rough start and I knew I needed to bounce back,” Mohr said.
Hannah, who started out sort of slow as well, also had to bring it on at the end to get a good score.
“I was pretty consistent all day,” Hannah said. “It was tough playing when it was wet out there. I just tried to grind it out all day, knowing it was an 18-holer and knowing that scores weren’t going to be amazing.”
With the course being wet, a pair of low 80s could carry the Polar Bears up the ladder, but another score was still needed to solidify a top spot.
Enter freshman Zach Phillips.
Phillips, whose expression at times on the course seemed as if he wasn’t shooting his best, was able to become sort of the unsung hero of the day for Fairmont Senior.
“Zach had a lot of pressure on him, being a freshman playing with the seniors,” said Corley. “His scores are coming up at the right time of the year and hopefully it helps us make a run at regionals and states.”
His score of 94 gave Fairmont Senior a combined score of 256 and put them in second place for the tournament.
“I think I played well compared to how I played the last 18-hole match,” Phillips said. “It gives me a lot of confidence being a freshman and playing in the Big 10 and at regionals.”
Mohr and Hannah would go on to be named First Team All-Tournament for Fairmont Senior along with Brennon Vincent from East Fairmont (84) and Cole Richards (85) from North Marion.
North Marion’s Colton Holbert (87) and Dustin Fisher (89) along with East Fairmont’s Hayden Stewart (89) were named Second Team All-Tournament.
For the season, Mohr, Vincent and Holbert were named First Team All-Conference. Hannah and Stewart were named Second Team All-Conference.
Overall, Grafton won the Big 10 Championship after shooting a 249.
All three Marion County teams had a player named First Team All-Conference and the teams all finished in the top five.
All three squads will have the week off to prepare for the regional tournament, which will be played next Monday at Green Hills Country Club.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.