Woodmore junior Alex Gedert averaged 76.5 strokes per 18 holes this season, but that was before he played Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course at the Division III state golf tournament in Upper Arlington.
“I’ve never seen a course like that,” said Gedert, who played a practice round on the course last Thursday. “It’s the most difficult course I’ve ever played. It’s really long, so you have to be a long hitter. The greens are so fast and they’re so undulated. Even the two-footers aren’t straight.”
Gedert shot a 15-over 86 in his opening round, then followed that with a respectable 79 on Saturday. His 165 total put him in 19th place at the tournament.
“The experience was unbelievable and it exceeded my expectations,” he said. “You want to get there, and once you’re there you’re overwhelmed with excitement. It was really cool being there, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Gedert said the experience made him want to set bigger goals for his senior season.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” he said, “but seeing how it played and how other kids played, I think I can get back and make a run at a title. I know I can, if I put all my work ethic toward it. I just really want to motivate myself to do it. I want to make it back next year and give myself a chance on Saturday.”
Gedert was a first-team All-Northern Buckeye Conference performer this season and broke the school record for an 18-hole round when he shot 69 at the NBC meet at Green Hills in Clyde. He shot a 4-over 75 at the D-III sectional tournament at Green Hills to advance to the district tournament at Stone Ridge in Bowling Green.
Gedert took second individually at Stone Ridge after shooting a 5-over 77. Then it was on to the state tournament, where he struggled on a handful of holes on the first day.
“I was a little frustrated, but I couldn’t get too frustrated,” Gedert said. “Seeing that course for the first time in competition, it’s a whole different breed of golf course. I kept telling myself I wanted to do better and I wanted to keep improving. Then I had those four holes where the swing didn’t feel right and everything seemed more difficult in my mind. I regrouped and parred the last three holes.”
Woodmore coach Steve Burner said Gedert was “holding steady” for the first nine holes, when all of a sudden he started to struggle off the tee.
“I think he was really nervous starting out,” Burner said. “His drives went wayward a little bit, and on the Scarlet Course you don’t want to miss the fairways. We missed about four in a row on the back side and went from 40 (on the front) to 46.
Despite those four holes, Burner said Gedert settled in and played his game.
“His demeanor didn’t change,” Burner said. “One thing about Alex, he stays pretty calm. Alex has this competitive drive in him. He swore he was going to shoot in the 70s the next day.”
Gedert said he went back to the hotel that night and got his mind right for Saturday’s round.
“I knew I could make a run at a good spot,” he said. “I was thinking about what I could have done better. I just needed to regroup and ease my way through every hole, so I could avoid the big score.”
Despite “lipping out” on seven holes during the final round, Gedert still managed to finish at 8 over par on the day.
“I was much happier,” he said. “I was happy with 79. Getting into the 70s was tough on that course. It was much better the second day.”
Other members of the Woodmore team included seniors Devin Fisher, Matt Hartford and Connor Witt, junior Jeff Greenhill, sophomores Clay Crispen and Myles DeStazio and freshmen Austin Berkel, Mikey Blausey, Jay Connor, Jared Draeger, Connor Emch, Nate Jackson, Adam Lemke and Zach Steinmetz. Burner was assisted by Brian Ryman.