By Rob Kiser
Troy High School golfer Nate Uhlenbrock was in control through nine holes at the Echo Hills Junior Club Championship Wednesday.
But, Covington golfer and defending champion Andrew Slusher made a big charge on the back nine to pull out a one-stroke victory. Slusher had an 81, to Uhlenbrock’s 82.
Piqua golfers Derek Jennings, Brennan Hicks and Aaron Davis took the third, fourth and fifth spots, with Jennings carding an 85 to finish just four shots back.
“Definitely, it was a big goal to defend my title,” Slusher said. “I had no idea (playing in the group behind Uhlenbrock) if I had won (when they were finished). I knew Nate had played really well on the front nine.”
In fact, Uhlenbrock had shot an even-par 36 on the front nine, before coming in with a 46 for a round of 82.
“I had it going on the front nine,” Uhlenbrock said. “I could just never get it going on the back nine and I kind of blew up on 16.”
Uhlenbrock took an eight on the hole, allowing Slusher to come from four shots back with five holes to play.
Slusher had shot 40 on the front nine and followed it up with 41 on the back nine.
Little did he know standing on the 18th tee that a par would win him the tournament.
“Not at all,” he said.
And he didn’t make it easy on himself on the par-5.
“I bladed my third shot over the green,” Slusher said. “Then I flopped it to a couple feet and made the putt. I felt like played pretty well. Golf practice starts Aug. 1 and the first match is Aug. 8, so I am looking forward to a real good season.”
So is Uhlenbrock.
“This is my first competitive tournament heading into the golf season,” he said. “I think we (Troy) are going to have a good year. Maybe we can even do something big like winning the GWOC North.”
Christian Starrett won the 15-and-under tournament, while Piqua golfers Kelsey Bachman and Macey Pruitt battled it out for the girls title.
Bachman’s consistency won out, with a 47 on the front nine to Pruitt’s 55.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.