Central Catholic failed to maintain its first-round pace and St. John's Jesuit put things into high gear yesterday as the Titans won their second straight City League golf championship at Ottawa Park.
St. John's which saw its 16-year title streak ended in 2000 by rival St. Francis de Sales, used a final-round team score of 289 yesterday to overcome Central's four-shot lead established Tuesday at Detwiler.
In winning their 27th league crown overall, the Titans posted a tournament total of 298-289–587 to easily defeat runner-up St. Francis (604). Central placed third at 605.
Jeff Blank, a St. Francis senior, was the individual champion with a 74-70–144.
St. John's scoring came from sophomore individual runner-up Matt Tashenberg (72-73–145), Eric Wiegand (75-71–146), Erich Schoen (73-75–148), Alex Smith (77-72–149) and D.J. Ford, whose 74 yesterday counted among the six players in the tourney lineup.
“Throughout the year it's been hard for us to put a few good scores together,” Tashenberg said. “But today we finally came together and put four or five decent scores on the board and pulled it out.
“Everybody expects us to do well in the city [tournament], and after the first day we were sort of down. Today we came back and showed everybody what we're really made of.”
So balanced were the Titans that their No.7 player, senior Chris Chiles, whose scores figured only into the junior varsity tournament, equaled Tashenberg at 72-73–145.
“We're fortunate at St. John's to have 10 solid players, if not 12, 13 or 14 solid players,” said first-year Titan coach Mike Spencer. “Sometimes my job gets to be tough deciding on who I'm going to put in the lineup. It's a day-to-day decision. Because of that, we haven't really had our best golf yet this year.”
Blank, who finished third individually in this tournament as a sophomore and tied for second last year, got help from James Rasik (76-74–150) and Zachary Smith (76-76–152) in erasing Central's 12-stroke first-round edge over the Knights.
“I got off to shaky start at 2-over after three, and just grinded it out after that,” Blank said of yesterday's round. “I played extremely well (32) on the back nine. I found my putting stroke coming back.
“St. John's was tough with the 289 today. Nobody's going to beat that. I'm happy with the way our team played. It's a great feeling coming in first [individually] with all of these great kids. It's my last year, so I'm glad to go out like this.”
Ricky Ochsner (73-77–150), Kevin Poole (72-79–151) and Eric Allen (71-80–151) paced Central.
“The whole team is starting to go in the right direction and compete better as a team,” St. John's Spencer said. “We've been waiting for this day all year. The confidence is starting to build and we're doing it at the right time.”
DivisionI sectional tournament play begins tomorrow at Eagles Landing in Oregon.