Carter Bowman WBL Player of the Year, medalist at league meet

SHAWNEE -- Carter Bowman knocked on the door for two years. Now the St. Marys junior golfer has been crowned the Western Buckeye League’s best.

Bowman emerged on the third hole of a playoff at the Western Buckeye League Championship meet at Shawnee Country Club to cap a big Friday. Bowman shot an even par 72, beat Kenton’s Britton Hensel in the playoff for the tournament’s medalist honors and took home the WBL’s Player of the Year award.

“I set my goals pretty high for this season and I think I matched those goals pretty well,” Bowman said.

Bowman  burst onto the Western Buckeye League scene with a second-place finish at the league tourney as a freshman and then came up just short on his home course Northmoor last fall.

Now he’s atop that leaderboard and the league.

St. Marys finished fourth as a team with a 339 team score, as Colin Burke added an 80. Burke ended up the season fifth in the individual points for First Team All-WBL honors. Hunter McMurray carded a 92, Kyle Kiefer had a 95. Tyler McMurray had a 99 and Jacob Hollman shot a 103.

Bath won the WBL team title with a 322 team score. Celina finished second with a 327 score, led by Kaleb Kuhn’s 78 and David Jenkins’ 81. Kenton was third, followed by fourth-place St. Marys and fifth-place Wapakoneta (354).

St. Marys ends the WBL season as the fifth place team after the season’s point totals were factored in.

The sunny, brisk day ended with a duel between the only two players in the 60-player field to stay at level par, wrapping up just minutes before the rains set in.

Bowman and Kenton’s Hensel parred the first and ninth holes to start the playoff before Bowman emerged with the win on the first hole. Bowman striped his drive right down the center of the fairway on the first hole, chipped close and buried the putt for the win.

“The nerves didn’t really settle in until that last putt,” Bowman said. “I had my teammates there rooting me on.”

Bowman played Shawnee Country Club in a practice round. Friday’s score was a big improvement.

“We came here in a practice round and I had to take an eagle to shoot 78,” Bowman said. “So I was really happy with a 72 today. It was just birdies and bogeys. I didn’t haven any three-putts or double bogeys. That helped out a lot.”

Shawnee Country Club held its own against the WBL’s best, with no player making it under par.

“You’ve got to hit the fairways or else you’re going to be in trouble,” Bowman said. “This is definitely a tough course. The greens are hard to read and it’s just an all-around tough course.”

Not that Bowman’s scorecard was evidence of that, as he smoothly moved his way around the course with matching 36s on the front and back nine.

Bowman won the Player of the Year award with 164 points. Trent Cutlip was second with 152.5 points, which are earned throughout the season in WBL matches.

One of the highlights of the day came on the front nine. After Bowman drove the ball right into the pine straw on one hole with his back to a tree, he kept the flight path of the ball low and coaxed the ball onto the green to within 10 feet. He two-putted for the par.

“That definitely was a confidence booster,” Bowman said. “Getting that onto the green, underneath the trees and making a par really helped save my round.”

Now it’s off to the sectional touranment for the Roughriders and their junior leader.