H-L’s Gorrell just a few strokes back of top 10

COLUMBUS – It seemed like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

What used to be up was down. What was down was suddenly up.

Just when Bryce Gorrell thought he was headed right, things would go left.

But as backward as things were for the Hopewell-Loudon junior, he still managed to fire a 12-over 83 Friday at the Division III boys state golf tournament.

The best part for him was that a lot of scores on the big board were higher than his as the Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course played long and fast for a lot of players.

“It was an up-and-down round. You would think you had some momentum and then the next hole it’d go away right away,” Gorrell said. “It was a grind. The greens were really tough and some of the pins were really brutal. You just had to stay in there. I didn’t play well (Friday) but I have (today) to make it up.”

At the end of the day, it left Gorrell tied for 19th overall with three other players. He’s four strokes off the pace for 10th place, which would earn him All-Ohio honors.

Powell Village Academy’s Jeg Coughlin shot a 73 to lead the two-day tournament.

Gorrell’s strengths lie in his short game and his putter. On Friday, those abilities abandoned him at times. However, his driver usually is the weakest club in his bag. But on the first day of the tourney, outside of one hole, it was one of his best clubs.

“Normally his strong suit is his short game and he just wasn’t getting them close today. He had a bunch of three putts. He was putting himself in some bad positions out there,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Bob Maurer said. “(Thursday) in the practice round he was getting it up there close but (Friday) he just didn’t have it. He was hitting the fairways more than he normally does. I don’t know if it was nerves or what today.”

Gorrell started his day well enough. Teeing off at No. 10, the junior parred three of his first four holes. But then things got messy. No. 14 turned into a bogey and No. 15 unraveled quickly. His tee shot nearly hit a house out of bounds down the left side of the hole. His second shot went way right. When it was all said and done, he finished with his nicest putt of the day, a 20-footer to save triple bogey.

“The drive was pretty bad. I was playing pretty decent up until then. I just hit a really bad drive that went out of bounds and then hit the second one really bad,” Gorrell said. “(The long made putt) definitely helped going into the next hole. I don’t think I would have been able to come back if I had missed that.”

From there, he finished his back nine with three straight pars.

But as he began the front nine, the putter and short irons started to betray him. Bogeys opened the first three holes before two pars. Nos. 6 and 7 were back to bogeys before a par on No. 8. He finished his day with a three-putt double bogey.

“He kept his temper under control and didn’t blow up,” Maurer said. “(Today) we get him a little closer and make some putts and he’ll be right back in the hunt.”

The junior knows what he has to do today.

“If I shoot a good round (today), I can really come back from it,” Gorrell said.