By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Sterling McIlravy wasn’t happy with his putting performance on Friday.
Teammate Ethan Yahr didn’t like anything about the way he played at the Solon Invitational.
Neither golfer had any problem with the final results.
McIlravy and Yahr each shot a 76 to finish first and second respectively leading Solon to the team title at its own invitational on a sunny afternoon at Lake McBride Golf Course.
“I actually played poorly, I hit a lot of poor iron shots but it was working out,” Yahr said. “These are the days you look at and you know you played bad but you scored good so it’s a positive.”
McIlravy and Yahr led four Solon golfers with scores of 77 or better on Friday as the Spartans shot a 306 to edge WAMAC rival Central DeWitt by two strokes for the team title.
Wilton was third with a 354 followed by West Branch with a 360 while Regina placed seventh with a 381.
“We love playing at home, we love the course and any chance we get to come and defend it we want to do it,” McIlravy said. “Obviously when you play on your home course you want to win so it’s one of the biggest meets for us all year.”
Solon opened the season on Thursday, carding a 159 in a dual win over West Delaware on a windy afternoon.
The Spartans followed it up with an even more impressive performance on Friday.
Seniors Marcus Martin and Noah Erickson each posted scores of 77, while junior Blake Newell shot an 83 and Jack Stahle had an 87.
Seven of the 12 nine-hole totals recorded by Solon golfers on Friday were under 40.
“We played very well today,” Solon coach Adam Stahle said. “Everybody is back from last year, it’s the same six kids and what has been really nice is they took the lessons that we learned last year and built on it in the summer time and now you are starting to see the hard work they put in. We had four guys at 77 or under and our other two guys are capable of being in that spot the next time out.”
Yahr and McIlravy were two of the big reasons for the impressive performance by Solon.
McIlravy fired overcame a rough outing on the greens to be one of three golfers to post a four-over 76.
The senior shot back-to-back two-over par scores of 38 and won the individual medalist honors in a scorecard tiebreaker.
He had opportunities to win the title outright but had birdie putts on the par-five 16th and 18th lip out.
McIlravy reached the green in two on both the 16th and 18th but settled for three-putt pars.
“I had a four put and three three-putts so that accounts all of my strokes over par,” McIlravy said. “I am a good putter, I know I am it was just an off day with that.”
Despite the putting struggles McIlravy finished with three birdies to offset five bogeys.
“I was really happy overall with how I played even though I putted poorly I’m not ever upset with that,” McIlravy said. “The past week I have pretty much made every putt I have looked at from inside 10 feet so you are going to have a bad day and that’s doesn’t hinder my confidence. It’s the same putter the same stroke sometimes the ball goes in.”
Yahr shot a 37 on his opening nine holes, highlighted by a birdie on the par-four first.
The junior ended with a 39 on the final nine holes with a pair of birdies and a pair of double bogeys.
“It was a good chance to shoot a low score, get a good score into quikstats and let people know we are good,” Yahr said. “I thought we played well.”
Erickson shot even-par 36 on the opening nine and finished fifth with his 77 while Martin closed with a 38 to post a 77, good for sixth place.
“To have four scores of 77 or better is tough to do because one or two bad holes take you out of a score like that,” Stahle said. “They stayed focused for 18 holes which early in the season is hard to do.”
Ted Bridges and Brady Lukavsky each shot 86 to lead West Branch while Regina was led by Mark Schomer with a 92.
Team scores – 1. Solon 306; 2. Central DeWitt 308; 3. Wilton 354; 4. West Branch 360; 5. Tipton 362; 6. Durant 368; 7. Regina 381; 8. West Liberty 403.
Individual results – 1. Sterling McIlravy (Solon) 38-38 – 76; 2. Ethan Yahr (Solon) 37-39 – 76; 3. Reilly McGranahan (Central DeWitt) 37-39 – 76; 4. McGwire Eden (Central DeWitt) 37-40 – 77; 5. Noah Erickson (Solon) 36-41 – 77; 6. Marcus Martin (Solon) 39-38 – 77; 7. Brad Gannon 41-36 – 77; 8. Leo Callison (Durant) 39-39 – 78; 9. Jake Fratzke (Wilton) 42-37 – 79; 10. Tucker Kinney (Central DeWitt) 81.
West Branch (360) – Ted Bridges 43-43 – 86; Brady Lukavsky 42-44 – 86; Trevor Thein 47-44 – 91; Evan O’Neil 50-48 – 98; Mitchell Knoop 49-51 – 100; Cade Aspelmeier 53-51 – 104.
Regina (381) – Joseph Hein 50-58 – 108; Jake Phillips 51-48 – 99; Brady Wallace 46-49 – 95; Zach Seaman 48-50 – 98; Mark Schomer 45-47 – 92; Nic Hein 54-48 – 102.
Solon (306) – Sterling McIlravy 38-38 – 76; Ethan Yahr 37-39 – 76; Noah Erickson 36-41 – 77; Marcus Martin 39-38 – 77; Blake Newell 42-41 – 83; Jack Stahle 41-46 – 87.