GRAFTON — Avon Lake learned an important lesson on the first day of the high school golf season — every stroke matters.
The Shoremen started off the year Monday with a win by the narrowest of margins, sneaking past Shaker Heights by a shot to win the Elyria Catholic Invitational at Brentwood Golf Course.
Avon Lake shot a 301, while the Raiders, led by medalist Robert Kimmel’s 3-under-par 67, finished with 302.
“We’re super-excited first time back out to see what we got,” Avon Lake coach Matt Perry said. “I was just happy for us to get away from our home course and see different looks. We’ve got some pretty good kids from top to bottom who can play, it’s just a matter of getting four who can put it together every day.”
Ryan Shinko led Avon Lake with a 2-over 72, which left him in a three-way tie for second in the individual standings with Elyria Catholic’s Kyle Mahaffey and Keystone’s Bryan Sayers.
The three went into a sudden victory playoff for the second-place trophy with Mahaffey winning on the third hole. Firelands’ Jackson Talbott had the fifth best individual round with a 3-over 73.
“We all played well,” Shinko said of the Shoremen’s performance. “This is a very narrow course so it helped that we were hitting our irons and our short clubs well.”
Tyler Madden shot a 74 for Avon Lake, while Sean Laverty and Dylan Roig rounded out the scoring lineup with a 77 and 78, respectively.
“I’ve played in multiple tournaments over the last couple weeks and I just couldn’t wait to get back out here with my team,” Shinko said. “When I saw the scores we put up in tryouts I was thinking we could win a lot of tournaments this year. The competition is what I play for and what drives me. I don’t really play just to have fun anymore, I like to win.”
Playing on the Panthers’ home course, Mahaffey, a senior, needed a par on the third playoff hole to secure his runner-up status. Overall, Elyria Catholic finished eighth as a team with a 337.
“Too many missed opportunities,” Mahaffey said of his round. “I think I had four birdie opportunities I didn’t cash in on. I’ve played this course a thousand time, I know it forward and backwards. I felt good out there today, I was able to birdie my first hole to get my round going strong. Coming out near the top is a good feeling. I’m just going to keep working to get my scores lower.”
Monday was also the first time Mahaffey was able to play high school golf with his brother Ryan. Ryan, a freshman, was in the lineup for EC but didn’t finish in the top four.
“I like having him out here,” Kyle Mahaffey said. “Hopefully I’ll get to play a few matches with him this season. He reminds me of me when I was a little freshman. I’ve been giving him little pointers and lessons here and there. It’s kind of exciting to see him get ready to take my role and fill my shoes.”
It was also a big day for Keystone, which finished third with a 314. Besides Sayers’ 72, Jake Morgan shot 75, which included an eagle on the par-4 10th hole.
“I’m not sure I was expecting us to finish that strong today but it was something I was hoping for,” Keystone coach Greg Morgan said. “I’m happy with what I saw today. Jake and Bryan came in low, Ian (Morgan) didn’t play really well but he putted well to hold himself in and Kyler (Yusko) came in with solid fourth score. I’m proud of how they battled through some adversity.”
TEAM STANDINGS: Avon Lake 301, Shaker 302, Keystone 314, Avon 317, Firelands 332, Lutheran West 332, Elyria 333, Elyria Catholic 337, Wellington 339, North Ridgeville 340, Midview 346, Fairview 357, Bay 391, Holy Name 395, Buckeye 412, Black River 442
Medalist: Robert Kimmel (Shaker Heights), 67
Top Individuals: Kyle Mahaffey (Elyria Catholic), 72*; Ryan Shinko (Avon Lake), 72; Bryan Sayers (Keystone), 72; Jackson Talbott (Firelands), 73, Tyler Madden (Avon Lake), 74; Jake Morgan (Keystone), 75; Bryan Stone (Midview), 76; Nolan King (Avon), 76; Ben Lampe (North Ridgeville), 76; Kevin Spring (Shaker Heights), 76
*Won 3-way playoff for second
Avon Lake (301): Tyler Madden 74, Ryan Shinko 72, Owen Conroy 87, Sean Laverty 77, Dylan Roig 78, Emmet Fink 84
Shaker Heights (302): Robert Kimmel 67, Drew English 80, Kevin Spring 76, George Furey 79, Zack Honig 89
Keystone (314): Jake Morgan 75, Ian Morgan 81, Bryan Sayers 72, Rocky Houston 92, Kyler Yukso 86, Gage Knepper 97
Avon (317): Jack Gerborg 77, Nolan King 76, Matt Granito 82, Tyler Chrisby 82, Bryce Moyer 100, Oliver Hewitt 98
Firelands (332): Jackson Talbott 73, Steve Iwanek 88, Aaron Urban 80, Will Folley 91,Tristan Stipe 106, Cohen Overstreet 125
Lutheran West (332): Tyler Robinson 86, Jakob Gross 75, Cameron Wandrie 88, D.J. Robinson 85, Tyler West 86, Jake DeTullio 92
Elyria (333): Ryan Streator 79, Ben McFrederick 85, Eric Sito 84, Eric Rishel 103, Luke Coward 85, Jeremy Barley 102
Elyria Catholic (337): Kyle Mahaffey 72, Alex Brown 98, William Muzilla 81, Nick Batt 94, Dylan Burbank 90, Ryan Mahaffey 97
Wellington (339): Will Palmison 79, Eric Benko 91, Luke Tanderich 83, Jordan McKee 88, Wyatt Sasack 89
North Ridegville (340): Kolin Matej 88, Ben Lampe 76, Zach Januska 85, Zach Richardson 102, Dylan Peregord 91, Evan Turay 99
Midview (346): Bryan Stone 76, Michael Ebosh 87, Quinn Rowe 93, Cullen Large 99, Evan Vince 90, Cole Pugh 98
Fairview (357): Ryan Eckert 81, Tyler Holliday 83, Jack Munro 89, Josh Karliak 104, Connor Canfield 115, Jack Anderson 105
Bay (391): Joe Sharpnack 96, Andrew Chesterfield 89, Joey Wagner 106, Nate Earl 100
Holy Name (395): Joey Abraham 90, Jack Kelley 105, Jordan Lebron 124, Matt Laspisa 93, Noah Prevost 107, Caroline Oebker 123
Buckeye (412): Christian Ray 87, Will Reagan 117, Jackson Chambers 90, Michael Koeth 118, Colin Shrader 125, Lilly Porta 124
Black River (442): Cliff Kovacic 103, Nate Moore 105, Ethan Foster 110, Jake Zacharyasz 124
Oberlin (no team score): Anthony Jackson 101