By Chris Chaney
After an hour and a half weather delay, Amelia’s Jake Brinker and Milford’s Taylor Ulery finally got to put a peg in the ground on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the district golf tournament at Weatherwax Golf Course in hopes of qualifying for the state tournament as individuals.
For Amelia’s Brinker, the district tournament appearance was his second as a member of the Barons’ golf team and he banked upon that prior experience to get around the lengthy track in 3-over par 75, which was good enough to get him into a playoff for the final state tournament spot.
Tied with Loveland’s Reid Waddell, Brinker and Waddle replayed the first hole on the Woodside nine and Brinker sealed his fate with a birdie as Waddell made a par.
“He was on the green on every hole in two and his putting was right on the money,” Amelia coach Creed Cornett said of his ace. “He had a few lip-outs or he would have shot an even lower score, but he was definitely on target.”
Milford’s Ulery was not as fortunate, however. Getting off to a rough start, Ulery shot rounds of 48-46 to finish with a 94, 15 shots back of the last qualifying spot for the girls.
“She didn’t play that well at all,” Milford coach Sandy Garrison said. “It was really disappointing for her because she was hoping for mid to low 80s and she started out bogey, double bogey, double bogey.
“It was her long game (that was the problem). She has been struggling with her driver and never really got through it. Her short game was good, getting up-and-down, but she would just put herself into positions that she wasn’t able to make a par.”
Ulery continued a strong Milford tradition of having an individual qualify for districts in each of the last three years, which was something she felt happy to continue.
“Taylor felt really proud to represent her school and we’re very proud of her as well,” Garrison said. “The team was inspired by her and she’s been a great role model. I think that Taylor has kept the bar high and she can be proud as she walks away.”
And while Ulery hopes to continue her golfing career, Brinker still has some unfinished business as far as he and Coach Cornett are concerned.
Brinker will have to navigate his way through 36 holes at The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20. In order to become the state champion, Brinker will have to beat all 12 individual qualifiers as well as the 60 other participants in the team segment of the tournament.
Last year’s state co-champions, Ian Holt (Stow-Munrow Falls) and Beau Titsworth (Cleveland St. Ignatius), both shot 6-over 150s over the two rounds to take home medalist honors. Holt will defend his title as an individual qualifier this year.
Brinker will be following in his father’s footsteps. Kirk Brinker qualified and finished third in the state tournament in 1985 with a 158 as a member of the Milford golf team.
“(Jake) is carrying on that tradition with him going to state now, so that’s big for his family to have both of them go to state,” Cornett said.
Brinker will head up to Columbus on Thursday for a practice round where he and his coach will plot the course and make notes for the first round on Friday. After that, Cornett wants to get Brinker a solid meal and a good night’s rest before his 9:40 am tee time.
“I’m expecting him to do really well,” Cornett said. “He has worked on his game to where he is an unbelievable golfer. It wouldn’t surprise me if he takes it all.”