FAIRMONT — Day 1 of the Class AA state golf tournament at Oglebay Resort turned into a Region I tournament redo, with Marion County’s Fairmont Senior and North Marion high schools currently sitting No. 1 and 2 in the team standings just as they were a week prior in the regional tournament at Green Hills Country Club.
Fairmont Senior, which defeated North Marion by 16 strokes 230-246 at the regional, enters Day 2 with an 11-stroke advantage over the Huskies in a Class AA race that has turned into an intra-county affair.
“We fought hard today,” said Fairmont Senior coach Luke Corley, whose Polar Bears shot a three-person team total of a 44-over 257. “The course was rough and the wind really kicked up; you can see by the scores how tough the course played today. But our guys fought hard, and, even when they were playing bad, they grinded it out and didn’t give up too many strokes.”
North Marion sits in second place after Day 1 with a three-man total of 268 followed by Shady Spring’s 271 and Chapmanville’s 273.
Wyoming East rounds out the Top 5 in the team standings at 281, with the Warriors plummeting down the scoreboard after a controversial disqualification of Logan Miller, who was accused of signing an inaccurate scorecard.
Shady Spring’s Todd Duncan has a frim grasp on the Class AA individual title race after shooting a 1-over 72, the lone sub-80 score in Class AA and one of just five scores under 80 across all three classes on the day.
Grafton’s Caden Moore, who qualified for the state tournament in a sudden-death playoff in the regional, and Wyoming East’s Ethan Bradford sit in a tie for second in Class AA following 10-over 81s. Fairmont Senior’s Clark Craig’s team-best 82 is in sole possession of fourth place heading into Day 2, while Petersburg’s Nick Fleming’s 82 rounds out the Top 5.
Along with Craig’s 82 on Tuesday, the Polar Bears also got qualifying rounds of 87 from Gannon Satterfield and 88 from Zack Morgan, which are good for a tie for 10th and 12th place, respectively.
“(The course) was definitely playing tough,” Corley said. “It was blowing like 25 mile-per-hour winds, and the greens were really fast. It was insane.
“(Our score) is the result of maturity and playing smart golf — just knowing when to take a shot to go for birdie and when to not take a shot going after a birdie. They all managed the course very well today.”
North Marion’s second-place 268 was spearheaded by junior Michael Harris’ team-best round of 85, which puts him in a tie for seventh entering Day 2. Along with Harris’ 85, NMHS also got a 91 from Dylan Runner and a 92 from Bryce Rhoades as the other two qualifying scores.
The 1-2 finish from FSHS and NMHS as a team on Day 1 without carding a single sub-80 score was illustrative of the universal course difficulties on Tuesday.
The Polar Bears and Huskies tallied just two birdies combined over their six qualifying rounds, with Harris scoring birdie on the Par 3 No. 11 for NMHS and Morgan birdying the Par 5 No. 14 for FSHS.
“We got off to a really bad start as a team. I mean everybody was down on themselves through the front nine,” said Corley, with FSHS shooting a combined 26-over 134 on the front nine. “Then we kind of settled down into our round on the back nine.”
Craig, especially, stabilized on the back nine to vault up the leaderboard as he tallied six of his 10 pars over the final nine holes for a 39 after a 43 on the front. Satterfield and Morgan achieved similar 46-41 and 45-43 front nine-back nine splits, respectively.
North Marion, meanwhile, had its best moments on the front nine, with the Huskies leading Fairmont Senior 131-134 through nine holes.
Harris, in particular, turned in a strong start as he recovered from a double bogey on No. 3 with a string of three straight pars on Nos. 4-6 to card a 41 on the front nine. Runner wasn’t too far off Harris’ front nine pace, as he tallied back-to-back pars on Nos. 2-3 and 8-9 in response to a triple bogey on No. 1 and a double bogey on No. 7.
Harris and Runner went on to post a 44 and 48, respectively, over the final nine holes, while only Rhoades managed a better back nine than front nine out of NMHS’s qualifying scores with a 47-45 split.
Along with the three qualifying scores on Day 1, FSHS also got a 102 from Logan Huffman, while NMHS got a 106 from Rylan Gump.
Wheeling Park posted the best team score across all three classifications to take the Class AAA lead, with the Patriots posting a 32-over 245. Capital and Huntington, both at 247, are right on Wheeling Park’s heels entering Day 2.
Brooke’s Ryan Bilby is the Class AAA individual leader after Day 1 as he carded a 3-over 74. Washington’s Ethan Hardy and Park’s Noah Seivertson are in second and third at 76 and 77, respectively. Jacob Perry of Huntington also ducked under 80 with a 79 to finish Day 1 in fourth place.
In Class A, St. Mary’s carries a nine stroke lead into Day 2 after posting a 263 on Tuesday. Ritchie County is the only other team within range at 272.
Webster County’s Rigel Wilson is the individual Class A Day 1 leader after shooting a 9-over 80. Ravenswood’s Gavin Fox sits three back at 83, with Parkersburg Catholic’s Blake Lewis and Williamstown’s Xavier Caruthers tied for third at 84.