Southeast came in on a hot streak, winning

By David Carducci Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Southeast came in on a hot streak, winning seven straight matches to finish the regular season, but Mogadore, riding the crest of 27 consecutive PCL victories, had to be considered the tournament favorite.

"Mogadore is a great team," said Southeast coach Dave Murray. "I figured we might have a shot at them if we played as well as we could. Coming in I figured we'd need a score in the 230s."

The Pirates missed that target, firing a team score of 348. But that total was good enough to hold off Mogadore by nine strokes as the tough 6,586-yard East Course layout took its toll on the 10-team field.

Southeast, the winner of the PCL's American Division, finished first in the league on the basis of the head-to-head match Thursday with Mogadore, the National Division champion. The Pirates also finished atop the tournament leaderboard with Mogadore second (357) and Rootstown third (359).

"The scores were higher than I thought they would be and the course played much harder than I thought it would," said Murray. "But we beat a very good Mogadore team, and that is something that should be noted. This is the first time they've lost in two years. It was a very nice win, and it was nice to see my three seniors go out with a championship. Those guys _ Matt Behner, Jeff Abbuhl and Caleb Halulko _ worked very hard and I'm glad to see them getting the reward they deserve."

A hot putting streak helped Behner fire an 80 to share medalist honors with Mogadore's Dave Crew.

"My putting was on fire on the back nine," said Behner. "I had only 14 putts on the back and made a 15-footer for birdie on 17. I couldn't hit my driver, I was in the woods all day, but thanks to my putting I still managed a 37 on the back."

Abbuhl added a round of 84 for Southeast and Halulko shot 94.

It was the emergence of Halulko at No. 3 and Joe Divoky (90) at No. 4 who keyed the Pirates' late-season surge.

"Caleb really came on real strong at the end of the year," said Murray. "So did Divoky. We knew we could count on our top two (Behner and Abbuhl), but we were also able to get good scores from three of the four each match."

Finishing second was a disappointment for Mogadore, but co-head coach Norm Lingle is confident his players will rebound in time for the sectional tournament Oct. 6 at Oak Knolls.

"We had a pretty good run," said Lingle. "You hate to have it end in a loss, especially for a championship, but that's the way the game is. We just didn't score very well. Southeast has been playing very well for a couple of weeks and we've been struggling a little bit, but had still managed to win.

"I feel we can come back and hopefully have a good showing at Oak Knolls (in the sectional). We just had a little difficulty getting any momentum out there."

Mogadore wasn't the only team that had trouble finding its momentum. The entire field struggled on the course that played much more difficult than in past years.

One reason for the difficulty was the change of the sixth and seventh holes from a par-3 and short par-4 to a pair of long par-4s.

Only two players in the 60-man field, Garfield's Rob Layer and Crestwood's Joe Hentz, managed to score a par at the uphill, 448-yard 6th hole.

Hentz shot an 88 to lead Crestwood, but the Red Devils' team score of 362 was not good enough to knock off Rootstown in the match to decide third place in the league.

The Rovers, paced by an 87 from Jeff Eckenwiler and an 89 by Kiel Sever, shot 359. The third-place finish was the best for a Rootstown golf team during the decade of the '90s.

Field's Gary Hartman, Mike Rainieri and Jeff Trout each shot 91 to help the Falcons finish fifth in the PCL with a 369-398 victory over Windham. Mike Apthorpe led the Bombers with a 91.

An 84 by Layer and a 94 by Zach Kissell paced Garfield in a 368-377 victory over Woodridge in the seventh-place match.

Waterloo finished ninth with a 380-424 victory over Streetsboro.

Joe Scalfaro led Waterloo with a 91, while Streetsboro's Sean Nehlsen finished one stroke off the medalist pace with an 81.

_____

Portage County League Golf Tournament

(At Oak Knolls East, Par 72)

Team Scores

1. Southeast, 348; 2. Mogadore, 357; 3. Rootstown, 359; 4. Crestwood, 362; 5. Garfield, 368; 6. Field, 369; 7. Woodridge, 377; 8. Waterloo, 380; 9. Windham, 398; 10. Streetsboro, 424.

First-place match _ Southeast 348, Mogadore 357.

Third-place match _ Rootstown 359, Crestwood 362.

Fifth-place match _ Field 369, Windham 398.

Seventh-place match _ Garfield 368, Woodridge 377.

Ninth-place match _ Waterloo 380, Streetsboro 424.

SOUTHEAST (348) _ Behner, 43-37_80; Abbuhl, 44-40_84; Halulko, 46-48_94; Divoky, 45-45_90; Hricko, 47-47_94; Robenstine, 53-45_98.

MOGADORE (357) _ McClary, 48-46_94; Nelson, 46-47_93; Crew, 39-41_80; Bramlett, 44-46_90; Clawson, 50-45_95; Brooks, 51-53_104.

ROOTSTOWN (359) _ Eckenwiler, 44-43_87; Sever, 47-42_89; Kazaglis, 49-46_95; Evanovich, 46-44_90; Riggie, 57-47_104; Stelzer, 47-46_93.

CRESTWOOD (362) _ Hentz, 44-44_88; Bockmuller, 45-47_92; Link, 45-44_89; Hartman, 52-55_107; Morris, 45-48_93; Muesel, 55-45_100.

FIELD (369) _ Hartman, 50-41_91; Rainieri, 47-44_91; Trout, 46-45_91; Hustler, 51-45_96; Bruce, 55-46_101; Holb, 47-DQ.

WINDHAM (398) _ Apthorpe, 46-45_91; Donham, 53-49_102; Waggoner, 50-52_102; Platek, 51-53_104; Thomas, 53-50_103; Kenesky, 59-51_110.

GARFIELD (368) _ Kissell, 50-44_94; Layer, 44-40_84; Miller, 53-56_109; Girt, 66-53_119; Szabaga, 45-43_88; Dyett, 52-50_102.

WOODRIDGE (377) _ Amos, 52-46_98; Mayer, 45-48_93; Sanson, 51-47_98; Young, 46-48_94; Shook, 45-47_92; Leipold, 57-47_104.

WATERLOO (380) _ Tannert, 46-51_97; Scalfaro, 46-45_91; Zachariah, 57-58_115; Ellsworth, 50-49_99; Marcello, 47-54_101; Markham, 47-46_93.

STREETSBORO (424) _ Nehlsen, 42-39_81; Schaeffer, 59-59_118; Miller, 50-

54_104; Roudybush, 63-58_121; Lester, 58-65_124; Abramowicz, 64-

62_126.

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