Eyster leads Beavers to OVAC crown
By SETH STASKEY
Special to the News
WHEELING, W.Va. — Consistency is the name of the game for any golfer.
It’s especially true when golf becomes a team sport.
Beaver Local has demonstrated time and time again, so far this season, that it has mastered that trait.
And it was on full display again Tuesday at the challenging Jones Course at Oglebay Park’s Speidel Golf Club during the annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A Championship.
The Beavers had nary a player shoot higher than a 90 for the 18-hole tournament and produced the overall class champion in junior Luke Eyster as they claimed the school’s first conference title in golf with a 344.
“We have a great, young team,” Pierson said. “They played very solid golf (Tuesday). We’re excited to win this. This was one of our goals.”
Beaver’s total was 10 shots better than runner-up Cambridge and 14 strokes fewer than St. Clairsville.
“I had a good idea of what everyone else was like, but I had no idea what Cambridge was like,” Pierson said. “It was a blind shot with them, but we overcome and that’s what we’ve been doing all season.”
Eyster set the pace for the Beavers. Playing in the No. 1 player spot in a group that included Cambridge’s A.J. Wilkin, St. Clairsville’s Will Foster and Harrison senior Sam Santille, Eyster caught fire in a three-hole stretch on the backside of the course. He birdied 13, 14 and 15, but opened the door for the others in the group with a double bogey on the 16th.
“Winning the OVAC was one of my goals ever since I started high school because I realize how prestigious it is to win this,” Eyster said. “I played well and got it done.”
Thinking back to his birdie holes, Eyster pointed at his ball striking as a pivotal part.
“My putting was good and I just kept calm,” Eyster said. “If I hit a bad shot, I was able to remain calm and just focus on the next shot. I couldn’t have drawn those three (birdie) holes any better because the course was very challenging. It was very well thought out by the Speidel staff.”
Eyster, however, righted the ship for a par on 17 and then overcame a tough pin placement and a speedy green on the 18th to clinch the title with a round of 78, which was a shot clear of both Foster and Wilkin.
“The guys in the group and I are all friends off the course and we always have a good time no matter how we’re playing,” Eyster said. “It was easy to know what you had to do to come out on top.”
The title is the first for Eyster. He was the runner-up to Martins Ferry’s Luke Krol in 2019.
“Luke is just steady,” Pierson said. “He’s solid every day of the week.”
After Eyster, Logan Ours shot an 86 for Beaver Local. Then Sky Pappas, Landen Cameron and Aiden Palarcik all posted 90s.
Wilkin and Foster finished second and third, respectively with a 79. Wilkin posted a par on the first playoff hole and Foster’s putt that would have extended the playoff to a second hole just rolled around the hole.
Joining Eyster, Wilkin and Foster on the All-OVAC team were East Liverpool’s Nathan Kelly (82) and St. Clairsville’s Saul Crist (84).
East Liverpool’s Paxton Grimes shot an 89 to place 10th individually as the Potters placed fourth in the team standings.
For Oak Glen, Jacob Gittings had an 88, Logan Weekley 110, Brady Chaney 126, Seanessy Adkins 128 and Garrett Wright 131.
1. Beaver Local (344), 2. Cambridge (354), 3. St. Clairsville (358), 4. East Liverpool (364), 5. Harrison Central (382), 6. Indian Creek (383), 7. Unoion Local (415), 8. Oak Glen (454), 9. Weirton (468), 10. Edison (483).