WAVERLY -Ordinarily, Garrett Bertram struggles with the short game.
However, Wednesday's Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association event at Golf Club of West Virginia was not any ordinary day for the golfer who will be entering his senior year at Marietta High School.
Bertram had his putter working and that enabled him to pull off a four-stroke margin of victory for medalist honors in the 16-18 age division after turning in a 3-over par 73.
Photos by Kerry Patrick
Noah Smith, left, and Garrett Bertram watch Smith's approach shot on the 13th hole during a Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association event Wednesday at Golf Club of West Virginia.
Vienna golfer TJ Davidson took medalist honors in the 12-under division.
"My tee shots weren't very good, but what saved me was my putting," Bertram said. "My short game is usually iffy."
Just past the halfway mark, Parkersburg South graduate Noah Smith appeared to be the favorite and led the field by one stroke with six holes remaining. Smith then hit a speedbump and bogeyed five of his remaining six holes to fall out of contention.
"I thought Noah's putts were going in - he would barely miss them," Bertram said. "And luckily mine went in."
Bertram, who won twice on the MOVJGA tour last year and has one runner-up finish to his credit this year, admitted he was scoreboard watching with Smith a member of his foursome. Bertram broke the tie when he parred the 14th hole and Smith took a bogey.
The victory was secured on the next hole when Bertram left his approach shot within 6 feet of the hole and sank the putt for birdie. Smith, meanwhile, put himself in jail with his tee shot and settled for yet another bogey for a two-stroke swing.
Slipping past Smith (39-39-78) for second place was Ravenswood 14-year-old Alex Easthom (42-35-77), who played the back nine at 1-over par despite taking a bogey on his final two holes.
"On the front nine, I played really well," Smith said. "On the back nine, I was hitting the ball well but I just didn't put myself in good position to score. I usually chip better than that, but the greens were really quick and kept releasing a lot, so I was surprised.
"I was trying to keep up with Garrett, but he rolled in so many putts today. He rolled in a ton."
The MOVJGA tour continues today with an 8 a.m. tee time at Worthington Golf Course. Bertram, Easthom and Smith gave a resounding 'yes' when asked if they would be part of the field.
"I like Worthington a lot -it's not too long and pretty scorable," Smith said.
In the 13-15 age division, two golfers broke 90. Logan Clegg recorded nine pars and six bogeys while shooting an 84. Max Hughes' round of 88 consisted of three pars and 12 bogeys.
Three individuals competed in the 12-under division. For nine holes, TJ Davidson carded a 50 and won by 12 strokes over runner-up Daniel Wharton.