Lincolnview’s Reece Farmer watches his chip from just off the ninth green during Thursday’s Division III district tournament at Stone Ridge in Bowling Green. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
Lincolnview’s Reece Farmer watches his chip from just off the ninth green during Thursday’s Division III district tournament at Stone Ridge in Bowling Green. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)

BOWLING GREEN — At the beginning of the season, Delphos St. John’s coach John Klausing didn’t know what to expect from his team.

Having graduated three seniors from the 2016 district team, the coach felt this year might be a tune up for next year. His squad didn’t let inexperience get in the way of a good campaign that saw them competing in the district tournament again. And this crew nearly took it a step farther falling short of earning one of the four spots to next weeks Division III state tournament by a shot.

The Blue Jays finished seventh, among the 18 teams, at the Division III district tournament at the Stone Ridge Golf Course in Bowling Green with a 342 team score. The score, which actually tied them for fifth with Tinora and Margaretta, was just one shot short of Spencerville in fourth place at 341.

“To be honest, at the beginning of the season, I didn’t think we would be here,” Klausing said. “I told the kids at the beginning of the day they would need a 340 to get out. They played well. Next year was supposed to be our best year, but they played extremely well the last couple of weeks. I’m proud of them.

“We graduated three seniors last year, half of the team, so I always try to get the best out of the kids and they want to do their best. To replace half of our team and miss by one shot of going to state is pretty remarkable for these kids.”

The Blue Jays were led by junior Adam Gerker with a 79 (40-39), which tied him for 12th overall. Junior Grant Csukker had an 83 (41-42), senior Robery Buescher an 89 (48-41) and sophomore Jared Lucas had a 91 (45-46). Senior Matt Dickrede finished with a 97 (50-47).

“We play a practice round and we kind of course it out as to what we want to do and they executed it,” Klausing said. “Right now they are kicking themselves for missing a two-foot putt, and all of them are doing that. You tell them how that two-foot putt is like a 280 yard drive, it can be. I’m very proud of what they did this year.”

Spencerville grabbed the fourth and final qualifying spot by shooting a 341.

The Bearcats were led by sophomore number one man Ethan Harmon with a 79, while twin brother Gavin Harmon had an 83 and junior Drake Mertz had an 85. Senior Collin Davis finished with a 94 and Alex Gallman had a 106.

This is Spencerville’s first time to qualify for state in golf. This was the first time Spencerville had a team advance past the sectional tournament.

Two local golfers competed as individuals in Lincolnview junior Reece Farmer and Parkway junior Mason Baxter. Farmer finished with a 95 (47-48) and Baxter shot an 89 (43-46).

Parkway coach Joe Falk felt his junior played all right for his first time playing a competitive round on the course.

“He is a little disappointed,” Falk said. “ He played all right. He had three bad holes that inflated his score. But like I told him, he is a junior and this is preparation for next year and hopefully we will be back at it next year and we will improve on his effort. He has the taste for it and I feel he will work extra hard to try and get back here.”

Van Buren won the district title at Stone Ridge shooting a fine 303 team score. Kalida was second with a 326 and Ottawa Hills was third with a 340.