Field's Ray Barry, Brett Walchalk, Nate Federonick and Jesse Bruce were the only golfers in the 60-man field to post scores in the 70s at Oak Knolls Golf Club's East Course Thursday. The superior effort gave the Falcons their third consecutive PCL league and tournament titles.
With a team score of 308, the Falcons finished 31 strokes better than runnerup Crestwood. There was little celebration in the Oak Knolls' clubhouse, however, when the final results were announced.
"We feel like we have some unfinished business to take care of," said Barry, who finished as the tournament's medalist (39-36-75).
After winning last year's PCL championship in equally impressive fashion, the Falcons found disappointment the following week when they failed to advance past a difficult sectional tournament at Massillon Elms Golf Club.
Since then, the team's goal has been to advance in one of the state's most competitive sectionals.
"It's a difficult golf course with some exceptionally good teams," said Field coach Rich Eden. "Our main goal all year has been to get out of sectionals. I know our kids have the skill level to do it. The question is mental. They have to do a better job of keeping their emotions in check."
Barry showed the type of mental toughness Eden expects in shooting his 3-over-par 75.
"I lipped out a putt for par on the 16th hole, but then I came back and made a 25-footer for birdie on 17," said Barry.
According to Eden, Barry has the kind of temperament it takes to succeed on the golf course.
"Ray has been a good senior leader," said Eden. "He is very consistent with his emotions. He can let a shot go here and there, and still be able to recover."
Other than the miscue at the par-4 16th hole, Barry rarely needed to recover during his round.
"I hit my driver pretty well all day," said Barry. "I kept the ball in the fairway and I was able to hit a lot of greens in regulation."
Walchalk fired a 77, and Federonick and Bruce each shot 78s.
"If we can shoot scores like that, we should be able to get out of the sectional," said Eden. "I'm really happy for Ray Barry as a senior to be medalist. I'm proud of Brett Walchalk. He had a bad first nine (41), then recovered on the back (36). That showed some maturity. Nate Federonick struggled here and there, but he was able to get over that. He also showed some emotional maturity, and that's what we'll need next week."
Crestwood finished second in the tournament, clinching second place overall in the PCL for the season. The Red Devils (339) needed some clutch play on the back nine to hold off Southeast (348).
PCL player of the year Ryan Pesecky shot 81, coming in with 39 to rebound from a disappointing 44 on the front side.
"Ryan has been real consistent all year," said Crestwood coach Grover Vaught. "He has really stepped it up from his sophomore to his junior season. We needed a team leader, and he has provided that."
The story of the day for Crestwood, however, was freshman Steve Santner, who matched Pesecky's 81 with an even better back nine. After struggling to a 9-over-par 46 in his first nine, Santner played the back in even par.
"That was a big boost," said Vaught. "We needed it. We've been in a battle with Southeast and Woodridge (for second place) all year."
Jeff Gries added an 85 and Justin Muesil a 92 to help the Crestwood cause.
Southeast's effort was led by Patrick Divoky's 85, Ben Dillon's 86 and Eddie Roberts' 87.
Windham finished fourth at 358, thanks in part to a fine round of 80 by Zach Thomas. The Bombers' No. 1 man answered a disappointing front side with a 2-over 37 on the back.
Rootstown claimed fifth place behind an 87 from No. 1 man J.P. Marozzi and an 88 by Mike Jenior at No. 2.
Waterloo closed PCL play in fine form. The Vikings, who entered the tournament in ninth place after a 3-13 regular season, finished in sixth place. Keith Ellsworth shot 86 and Brett Goodyear added a 91, helping Waterloo post a team score of 365.
Mark Young shot an 83 to lead seventh-place Woodridge (373). Jeremy Knight fired an 85 to lead Streetsboro's eighth-place effort (373).
Mogadore (375) finished ninth despite an impressive 81 by Troy Brooks. Garfield (407) finished 10th.
Portage County League Tournament
(At Oak Knolls Golf Club, East Course, Par 72)
1. Field 308; 2. Crestwood 339; 3. Southeast 348; 4. Windham 358; 5. Rootstown 363; 6. Waterloo 365; 7. Woodridge 373; 8. Streetsboro 373; 9. Mogadore 375; 10. Garfield 407.
FIELD (308) _ Ray Barry, 39-36_75; Brett Walchalk, 41-36_77; Nate Federonick, 38-40_78; Jesse Bruce, 39-39_78; Dave Benner, 40-40_80; Tim Knapp, 48-44_92.
CRESTWOOD (339) _ Ryan Pesecky, 44-37_81; Steve Santner, 46-35_81; Jeff Gries, 40-45_85; Justin Muesel, 48-44_92; Adam Belvin, 48-48_96; Nate Calapa, 50-47_97.
SOUTHEAST (348) _ Patrick Divoky, 45-40_85; Ben Dillon, 46-40_86; Eddie Roberts, 46-41_87; Brent Hilliard, 46-44_90; Matt Farley, 42-48_90; Cody Ellis, 46-45_91.
WINDHAM (358) _ Zach Thomas, 43-37_80; Kyle Stanley, 47-44_91; Matt Long, 50-42_92; Greg McDivitt, 46-49_95; Branden Kropp, 52-49_101; Sean Cline, 55-58_113.
ROOTSTOWN (363) _ J.P. Marozzi, 43-44_87; Mike Jenior, 44-44_88; Logan Vair, 48-46_94; Andrew Stankavich, 47-47_94; Joe Moore, 49-47_96; Paul Taylor, 48-46_94.
WATERLOO (365) _ Keith Ellsworth, 46-40_86; Brett Goodyear, 46-45_91; Zach Kachner, 48-46_94; Josh Arner, 50-44_94; Dan Sheaffer, 46-51_97; Tim Markham, 68-56_124.
WOODRIDGE (373) _ Mark Young, 45-38_83; Joe Cavanaugh, 48-47_95; Kenny Young, 53-43_96; Jeff Morgan, 51-48_99; Joe Myers, 53-46_99; Simon Crass, 53-48_101.
STREETSBORO (373) _ Jeremy Knight, 44-41_85; Josh Polak, 46-44_90; Adam Abramowicz, 51-48_99; Sean Cunningham, 49-50_99; Charlie Kocisko, 50-52_102; Sean Speck, 56-50_106.
MOGADORE (375) _ Troy Brooks, 42-39_81; John Wilson, 45-51_96; Chuck Worthington, 48-49_97; Bryan Pratt, 53-48_101; Nate Worthington, 53-53_106; Robert Krager, 56-59_115.
GARFIELD (407) _ Jeff Girtz, 49-51_100; Brian Wilthew, 54-48_102; Doug Smith, 54-48_102; Ashley Brosius, 54-49_103; Eric Shipman, 51-52_103; Jack Breese, 65-76_141.