If you’re looking for the 2019 Suburban League National Conference golf champions, they both practice at the same location: Fox Den Golf Course.
A week after the Stow girls claimed the National Conference title, the Bulldog boys completed their path to the conference crown by the winning the final Suburban League Tournament of the season Thursday at Goodpark Golf Club in Akron.
Stow won the National Conference crown with a score of 312, besting runner-up Hudson by six strokes. Just like their female counterparts, the Stow boys won the final three Suburban League Tournaments to claim the overall title.
According to coach Joe Vojtko, this is the third straight National Conference title for the Bulldogs, despite tough conditions at Goodpark.
“It was playing pretty tough,” Vojtko said. “It was pretty windy and there were some pretty tough pin placements. The greens were actually playing quick today. It wasn’t playing easy. They all played well.”
Vojtko has said often this season that he has numerous players capable of breaking 80 strokes in 18 holes. That overall team excellence is what earned Stow the title at Goodpark.
Junior Max Crookston led the Bulldogs with a 5-over-par round of 76, finishing just one stroke behind Hudson’s Erik Block for medalist honors in the National Conference. Vojtko said Crookston was rock solid down the stretch.
“Max Crookston came out and hit a 5-over on the front nine,” Vojtko said. “He ended up parring holes 10 through 18. He parred the back nine. I think the back nine is bit a bit tougher than the front nine.”
Crookston had plenty of help. Sophomore Dylan Dunn shot a round of 78 at Goodpark, while senior Aaron Kim and junior Brandon Beck each shot rounds of 79.
“[Dunn has] been solid all year,” Votko said. “He birdied the 17th and 18th to keep it under 80,
Vojtko noted Kim recovered well after losing a ball on the fifth hole and taking a triple bogey. He believed Kim had done enough Thursday to claim National Conference player of the year honors.
“He hit the ball really well today,” Vojtko said. “His score didn’t reflect how he played.”
Stow also got a round of 82 from senior Scott Kline and a round of 84 from junior Dan Page.
Stow now looks to the postseason, which it will open Wednesday at the Division I sectional tournament at Windmill Lakes Golf Course.
“We have to show up and play well,” Vojtko said. “I think we have the toughest sectional in our district.”
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team at Windmill Lakes will advance to the Division I district tournament at Pine Hills Golf Club in Hinkley Oct. 7.
“The competition level gets tougher at districts,” Vojtko said. “We’ve been going out to Pine Hills to get used to the course. The goal from the beginning of the year is to reach states. We can’t look past sectionals, though.”
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO