COLUMBUS — Findlay's Stephanie St. Jean is on track for a solid finish at the Division I state girls golf tournament on Ohio State's Gray Course.
During Friday's first round, St. Jean shot 39 on the front nine and 38 on the back for a round of 77 that leaves her seven strokes from the lead but in an eighth-place tie with four other players heading into today's final round.
The top five finishers receive first-team all-state honors, with the next five earning All-Ohio second-team.
“I was playing well, but I just had a few holes that killed my score,” St. Jean said. “The course was playing really nice. There were a couple difficult pin placements, and as the day went on, the greens dried. I had to make sure I was paying attention to the greens as much as possible.”
Medina Highland sophomore Jessica Porvasnik and Mason senior Emily Wright each shot even-par 70 to lead the field. Senior Lauren Grogan from Columbus Bishop Watterson is third, three strokes ahead of St. Jean.
It's the first state appearance for the Findlay senior.
“I'm hoping to be at least in the top five individually,” St. Jean said. “The past two years at district I always had a rough score. Last year the weather was brutal, and it just messed with me. This year, I've been more confident and my putting has improved. I've been more determined.”
Also competing in the girls state tournament is St. Ursula junior Alex Graf, who had an 84 Friday.
“My putts weren't going where I wanted them to, and it was just rough,” said Graf, who competed at state last year when her team finished 11th. “I really like being here. It's a lot of fun, but things just didn't go my way. I just want to do better [today].”
In the boys state tournament on OSU's Scarlet Course, St. John's senior Michael Balcar shot 80 and is tied for 14th, while St. Francis junior Ben Torchia turned in an 86, which puts him in a tie for 54th.
“I didn't feel like I played well at all,” said Balcar, who competed along with his team at state in 2007 and last year. “I didn't putt well, and I had some good drives, but I couldn't do it consistently. This course is always tough. There are just some tricky spots, and the wind was swirling. I wish my team was here, but I've got to do with it the best I can.”
Columbus St. Charles's Michael Ricaurte is first with a 71, and Mount Vernon's Charlie Phillips has a 73. Two-time defending champion Korey Ward of West Chester Lakota West is tied for fourth with a 75.
“My first 13 holes were good and then I just didn't shoot well at all,” said Torchia, who closed the day with five consecutive double-bogeys. “It's awesome being here. I just wish I was playing better.”