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High school golf is exciting in the Portage Trail Conference this season but it is also exciting for all schools in the greater Portage County area.
This area has an outstanding and accomplished group of high school golfers who, on any given day, can fire low scores and give their teams the edge to rise to the top of tournaments and matches.
GOLFERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
• DANNY JONES OF CRESTWOOD: While the Crestwood Red Devils are having a rough season as a team, Danny Jones has been improving.
The sophomore recently fired a 32 on the back nine at Sugar Bush Golf Course in a match against Coventry. Jones accomplished birdies on five holes before taking a bogey to finish his round.
• KELLY NIELSEN OF KENT ROOSEVELT: Nielsen fired a 70 at the annual Pickerington Invitational. The 4-under-par round was amid some of the best golfers in the state. It is difficult to single out one girl from the Kent Roosevelt girls golf team because all are firing well for Coach Bryan Harvey but Nielsen's score during tough competition was worth noting.
• MACIE HYSELL OF SOUTHEAST: Hysell has earned medalist honors in several matches this season and led her team to a second place finish in the Lady Pirate Invitational at Olde Dutch Mill Golf Course.
• JOEY KAINRAD OF SOUTHEAST: While Cody Tuttle is the defending Player of the Year in the County Division and always can be counted on to be a "clutch" player according to coach Vic Marozzi, one player does not make a team. Joey Kainrad has provided the depth the team needs against tough teams.
Parents and spectators watching the matches this season will notice several rule changes.
Coaches are now permitted to coach from players through the match as long as they do not create a delay of the game. Prior to this year, coaches were only allowed to talk to players when the golfer exited the green and on the tee.
This season, high school golfers are also permitted to use range fingers. The rule allowed the OHSAA to catch up with almost every junior tournament throughout the United States and the USGA that has permitted range finders for several years.
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
It's tournament time in Northeast Ohio for high school teams.
With the beginning of school right around the corner, golf teams take the opportunity to pit themselves against the best in 18-hole matches that might not be available once the school year begins.
This week, two PTC schools host respected tournaments. The Rootstown Rovers welcome many of the PTC schools along with others to Kent State University Golf Course on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Windmill Classic is hosted by Ravenna. On Friday, Windmill is again the setting for a tournament hosted by University School that finds Ravenna and Kent Roosevelt both on the roster.
MATCHES TO WATCH THIS WEEK
METRO -- Field at Norton on Wednesday.
The Falcons' Brady Adelman has been enjoying an outstanding start to the season while Norton is currently undefeated in two starts. Field stands at 2-1 and was beaten by Ravenna at a tough Windmill Lakes Golf Course. The match should be interesting to watch and come down to the final golfers.
COUNTY -- Southeast at Streetsboro.
The Southeast Pirates are starting the week after an encouraging and decisive victory over defending league champion Woodrige at the Pirates' home course.
Today, Southeast travels to Raccoon Hill to take on the Streetsboro Rockets. While Streetsboro is 1-3 in the league, the Rockets have been playing many independent tournaments and matches. Three of the Rocket golfers competed in tournaments throughout the summer alongside Pirate golfers Cody Tuttle and Joey Kainrad. A tricky Raccoon Hill Golf Course could make this a close match.
GAGGL -- St. Vincent-St. Mary and Woodridge at Southeast. The Southeast girls start out the week with one of their biggest matches of the season. Perennial Greater Akron Girls Golf League champion St. Vincent-St. Mary visits Olde Dutch Mill to take on Woodridge and the Pirates. Southeast beat St. V-St. M earlier this season, surprising the Irish. This could be an outstanding battle and set the winner on the path to the league championship.
NEOISGGL -- The Rough Riders have two big tournaments this week. Today the girls travel to Lake Forest Country Club in Hudson for the annual Lady Explorer Invitational. The invitational features 24 teams from Northern Ohio as well as Columbus.
On Saturday the girls from Kent play in the annual and respected Midwest Classic at Skyland Pines. Roosevelt has already established itself as one of the best teams in the state and this week could enhance that status. Kent Roosevelt is competing in league play for the first time, joining the Northeast Ohio Independent Schools Girls Golf League.
THIS WEEK IN BOYS GOLF
MONDAY-- Springfield @ Field, Southeast @ Streetsboro, Kent Roosevelt and Ravenna @ Big Cat Invitational, Lordstown @ Windham, Woodridge @ Rootstown, Waterloo @ Mogadore, Aurora @ Canfield.
TUESDAY-- Rover Invitational (Windham, Mogadore, Woodridge, Waterloo, Garfield, Springfield, Ravenna, Southeast, Coventry, Crestwood), Field @ Norton, Chagrin Falls @ Aurora.
WEDNESDAY-- Ravenna @ Springfield, Southeast @ Garfield, Windham @ Badger, Benedictine and Western Reserve Academy @ Streetsboro, Field @ Norton, Kent Roosevelt @ Coventry, Waterloo @ Woodridge,
THURSDAY-- Windmill Lakes Classic (Ravenna, Springfield, Rootstown, Norton, Southeast, Coventry, Woodridge, Crestwood, Mogadore); Grand Valley @ Windham, Hawken @ Aurora.
SATURDAY-- Kent Roosevelt, Aurora @ University School Tourney.
THIS WEEK IN GIRLS GOLF
MONDAY -- Kent Roosevelt @ Hudson Lady Explorer Invitational, St. Vincent-St. Mary and Woodridge @ Southeast, Aurora @ Mentor,
TUESDAY -- Magnificat @ Kent Roosevelt, Southeast @ Springfield,
WEDNESDAY -- Berkshire @ Aurora
THURSDAY -- Kent Roosevelt and Laurel @ Kenston, Southeast @ CVCA, Mentor @ Aurora.
SATURDAY -- Kent Roosevelt at Midwest Classic Tournament.