JEROMESVILLE — The playing conditions were British Open-like, but the howling wind and sideways rain and uncomfortably cool temperatures didn’t trouble Ashland’s Tyler Sabo.
An Ohio State recruit, Sabo fired an even-par 72 as the Arrows won the Ohio Cardinal Conference tournament Thursday with team score of 314.
Mount Vernon was second with a 329, followed by Lexington (335), West Holmes (339) and Wooster (344). Madison (384) and Mansfield Senior (429) rounded out the field.
More importantly for Sabo and his teammates, the Arrows won their third straight overall OCC championship. The overall title is determined by a team’s regular season dual-meet record and tournament finish.
Ashland and Mount Vernon were both 5-1 in dual meets, the Yellow Jackets having snapped the Arrows’ 18-match OCC dual winning streak earlier this month. Lexington, which beat Mount Vernon in dual play, and West Holmes were both 4-2.
Ashland and Mount Vernon came into Thursday’s tournament tied with 6.5 points based on regular season results. The Arrows picked up six additional points for winning the tournament for a total of 12.5. Mount Vernon earned five points for taking runner-up honors Thursday and finished with 11.5.
As for Sabo, the senior became the first ever three-time OCC Player of the Year after winning the award in 2019 and 2020. Like the overall team title, the Player of the Year award is based on regular season and tournament results.
Sabo accumulated 67.5 points during the regular season and scored an addition 24 points Thursday for taking medalist honors for a total of 91.5 points.
“It’s a pretty special feeling, knowing what I’ve been doing is paying off,” Sabo said. “I know that I’m in a good place.”
West Holmes’ Hunter Ellis was runner-up in the final Player of the Year standings with 87.5 points, good for a spot on the OCC first team.
He was joined on the first team by Ashland’s Kamden Mowry, Mount Vernon’s Ben Bridges, Wooster’s Devon Starcher, Lexington’s Troy Chapman and Ashland’s Aidan Chandler.
Temperatures hovered in the upper-40s with gusty winds and steady rain falling from gunmetal gray clouds when players teed off Thursday morning. Conditions never improved as bands of rain blew across Mohican Hills’ 6,622 yard layout all morning and into the afternoon.
“These are the worst conditions we’ve played in all year. It was cold and windy and it rained most of the round,” Sabo said. “It kind of reminded me of our district tournament last year. It was the same kind of weather.
“It doesn’t really bother me. You have to adjust and adapt, but everybody has to do it. It’s not a one-person thing.”
Starcher was the tournament’s medalist runner-up with a 77. Ellis and Lexington’s Isaac Vance tied for third with matching 78s, while Mowry, Chandler and Mount Vernon’s Beau Bridges all shot 80.
Ashland hopes to use Thursday’s championship as a springboard into the postseason. The Arrows have qualified for the Division I state meet each of the past two seasons.
“That’s always been our goal,” Sabo said of returning to the state tournament at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course on Oct. 22-23. “This year we want it even more. We’ve just got to put in the work and I think we should be fine.”