PARKERSBURG -Normally, the bookends to Alex Easthom's round of golf during the Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association Thursday at Worthington Golf Club would prevent someone from emerging as a winner.
Despite taking two penalty strokes on his first hole and scoring a triple-bogey on his final hole, the 14-year-old from Ravenswood managed to tie Williamstown's Mac McCormick for medalist honors in the 16-18 age division.
Only one playoff hole was required to separate the two individuals. Following a 300-yard drive on No. 1, Easthom chipped his second shot to within 12 feet - the same distance left for birdie by McComick following his second shot from behind a tree.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Logan Clegg hits out of the bunker on No. 8 at Worthington Golf Club during Thursday's Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association event. Clegg shot an 87 and finished runner-up in the 13-15 age division.
McCormick missed his uphill putt by mere inches, while Easthom followed with his winning putt.
"Mac kind of scared me by sticking a shot out of the trees," Easthom said.
At one juncture, Easthom was flirting with red numbers at 1-under par through 11 holes then closed out his round at 4-over 75.
"I hit red numbers a few times, but you just have to play with what the course gives you," Easthom said. "I had confidence in my wedges and my putter on the front nine, which I didn't have yesterday (at Golf Club of West Virginia).
"All day long, I was striking the ball really well. This is one of the best days I've had. Other than the last three or four holes, I had good day with the driver."
With Noah Smith at 78 and Dylan Cress at 79, McCormick was the only legitimate contender as holes started to diminish on the back nine. On No. 14, McCormick sank a putt from at least 25 feet for birdie to move to 2-over par for the tournament.
Easthom followed in the group behind McCormick and let loose a drive that crossed the creek several yards in front of the green and landed nearly pin-in off to the right for a drive close to 305 yards.
However, a three-putt gave Easthom a bogey and left him sitting at 1-over.
After consecutive pars, Easthom appeared to have his game under control but hit two trees before finally reaching the green on his last hole at No. 17. A triple-bogey gave him doubts about his chances until McCormick reached the clubhouse tied at 75.
Instead of competing in the 13-15 age division, Easthom and his father decided before the MOVJGA kicked off he should play up one age group.
"It feels like I belong in this group," said Easthom, who enters his freshman year this fall at Ravenswood High School.
Capturing medalist honors in the 13-15 age group was Todd Burner with an 84, followed closely by Logan Clegg at 87 and Heath Hill at 88. In the 12-under division, Tyler Bagley won after shooting a 52 for the nine-hole competition.