Experience key to Tigers state golf title hopes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2000

Does seeing the Ironton Fighting Tigers in the Division II state championship golf tournament sound familiar? It should.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

Does seeing the Ironton Fighting Tigers in the Division II state championship golf tournament sound familiar? It should.

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Ironton is in the state finals for the sixth straight year, and an even more familiar site this season will be the team members.

Four of Ironton’s five players participated in last year’s state tournament which should provide the Fighting Tigers with an advantage.

"There’s only 10 guys who ever played in (the tournament) before and everyone on our team has played it before except Josh (Cartmell), so hopefully that’ll work in our favor," senior Adam Rudmann said.

Rudmann has played as the No. 1 man all season. Despite his status, Rudmann doesn’t feel any pressure.

"Not really. I just try to put up the best number I can. It makes everyone play better if you put up a solid score," Rudmann said.

Ironton’s No. 5 man, senior Josh Cartmell, will start the day on Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Junior Zach Christian goes off at 8:38, senior Bo McGinnis tees off at 8:46, junior Andy Brown at 8:54, and Rudmann at 9:02.

"We thought all year that we were better this year than last year. We didn’t play well early. We didn’t even win our own tournament, but we’ve been playing well lately. We had a big match against Cabell Midland and Spring Valley that gave us a little confidence," said Rudmann.

McGinnis thinks confidence and experience are the two key elements in Ironton’s favor.

"We have a lot more experience coming back. We have four players back. We’ll be a lot more relaxed," said McGinnis.

As one of three seniors who played last year, McGinnis said the group has been pointing toward this goal all season.

"For Adam and me, it’s our senior year and we wanted to get back. With Josh (Cartmell), we just tried to help with course management and where he should hit and not hit to help him score better," said McGinnis.

"We’re a confident team. (Defending champion Kettering) Alter was expected to win last year. This year, it’s pretty wide open. In the sectionals we expected to win and got overconfident. The district we went out and blew the field away."

The emergence of Cartmell this season bolstered the Fighting Tigers team. Cartmell is the only member who did not play in the state tournament last season, but he is taking a calm approach to his first state tournament.

"I’m just one of the guys up there. I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. I just helped the team as much as I could during the season. I’m just trying to play this like any other tournament. I’m just going to focus and do my best to help my team," Cartmell said.

After watching the state finals the past three years, Cartmell decided to change his position on the team this season.

"Being my fourth year, I decided to concentrate more and set goals for myself that I’ve been able to accomplish them," Cartmell said.

Christian, a junior, injured his hand and sat out three weeks. After a quick week of rehab play, Christian is back in the groove and helped the team to win the district tournament by 26 strokes.

"I really didn’t get to practice, and then I didn’t have much time to rehabilitate it. I just gave it my best and hoped by team could back me up in the district and they did. With Adam shooting a 75 and a couple guys breaking 80, it helped me out," Christian said. "My hand is pretty much 100 percent. I have no excuses if I don’t play well up there."

Christian said the team’s performance down the stretch, especially in the district, gives Ironton momentum going into the state tournament.

"We’re feeling pretty confident. That’s the best we’ve shot all year and we’re coming together as a team. We’re getting four scores together and we’re not struggling," Christian said.

"Last year helped. We know the course better and we’ll have a little edge over the competition. I thought we had a chance, but now I think we have a real good chance."

Brown shot a 77 in the district, the third best score overall and only two strokes behind Rudmann. He will play as Ironton’s No. 2 man in the state tournament.

"We’re playing pretty well right now and we know what to expect after last year," Brown said. "Any time you can play on a course you’ve seen before has to be an advantage. We’ll just play our best and see what happens."