By Carl Holcomb
The challenges of the state golf tournament at Oglebay Resort tested the nerves of Moorefield’s Zach Arbaugh on his first visit to Wheeling, but managed to finish with a total of 190.
The Speidel Golf Club designed by Trent Jones has majestic views with rolling fairways and strategically placed hazards which can spell trouble when things start to unravel.
During a trial run of the course on Monday, Arbaugh completed it with a card of 86 and a there was a mental note of the adjustments to make to improve the score.
There were two quartets at each hole for the state golf tournament action which commenced on Tuesday morning and the horn signified the start and the same for Wednesday.
Arbaugh began on the 18th hole on both days paired with Parkersburg’s Bryce Moore, Tyler Consolidated’s Noah Miller and Greenbrier West’s Thomas Vestal.
Arbaugh shot a 99 on the first day of competition, then shaved off eight strokes for a card of 91 on the second day in Wheeling.
Arbaugh’s total equaled Moorefield alum Austin Williams from his state tournament showing in 2014.
“The experience is one you will never forget,” Moorefield Golf junior Zach Arbaugh remarked.[private]
I got there on Monday and we played my practice round. I went out there no pressure just having fun and shot an 86. Well I saw a few things I could fix and thought I could better my score for the tournament. However the tournament was a completely different atmosphere. Your muscles get all tensed up and your swing just isn’t the same. The first day I was very tensed up, but then the second day I was a little more comfortable and loosened up. Competing there was fun and a great experience. I plan to be there next year with the rest of the team.”
Finishing the opening round shooting for par on four holes which left room for improvement and Arbaugh mastered some adjustments for five pars on the second round.
Starting on one of the iconic holes leading to the clubhouse featuring a distance of 416 yards with a hillside stretching the fairway to the green, Arbaugh shot one over par on the 18th hole on both days.
Moving to the first hole with a distance of 442 yards, the tee was up on the hillside with a long drop below and it was a tough task to squeeze the ball between the sand pit and the trees.
The rolling green presented a challenge and Arbaugh shot two over par on both attempts.
The third hole resembled a slalom course with bumps along the fairway and a raised green with sand bunkers with a distance of 412 yards and Arbaugh took to strokes over par on the first day and a bogey on the second try.
Launching the ball off a hillside on the fourth hole with a pond below was one of the most majestic sights on the course with a distance of 148 yards which was a challenge for angles to the green which led to a three extra strokes on the first day before Arbaugh made the changes for par (3) in round two.
The fifth hole spanned 499 yards with a steep sloped fairway presenting a challenge for swinging and Arbaugh made a bogey and double bogey.
“The most challenging hole would probably be hole five, because the fairway is sloped at about 45 degrees and it is nearly impossible to keep the ball in the fairway and even if you do the ball is always below or above your feet,” Arbaugh said.
The sixth hole had three sand traps along the green with a 399 yard approach along a straight fairway which was good for the initial drive, but Arbaugh double bogeyed on the first round and shot a bogey on Wednesday as putting to finish was nerve racking.
On the seventh hole with a distance of 202 yards with a narrow line of sight with more bunkers, Arbaugh shot for par-3 on the first round and a double bogey the following day.
Walking the eighth hole measuring 493 was tough with the incline and narrow fairway with more sand to deal with at the end, but Arbaugh went from a double bogey to shooting for par-5.
Six bunkers greeted the golfers on the ninth hole and covered 400 yards, but Arbaugh aimed well to make par on the first day and took a bogey on the second round.
“My favorite hole was probably hole nine because it was kind of open and I could really go after my drive and not have too much danger to worry about,” Arbaugh noted.
After a lunch break, Arbaugh had a beautiful view of the mountainside launching the ball off the hillside tenth tee by the clubhouse spanning down to the fairway below with a tree line to the left side and the green angled around in a distance of 335 yards.
Arbaugh shot double bogey for both rounds on this hole.
The 11th hole was much shorter at 198 yards and the tee was on a slope with a fence to clear to the green and Arbaugh made a bogey on the first round and finished for par on the second day.
There was a small pond to drive the ball over on the 12th hole and a couple of hills on the left with bunkers and on the other side of the fairway had trees along the 379 yards which was easy to navigate at par on the first round, but took three extra strokes on Wednesday.
The golfers had to watch out of the trees and brush plus more bunkers on the par-4 13th hole covering 378 yards and Arbaugh struggled with eight strokes on the first try before shaving off three for a bogey the next round.
The longest measured hole on the course was the 14th hole at 536 yards (par-5) which also required pond hopping to the green and it took Arbaugh nine and seven strokes, respectively.
There was a steep incline to get up to the tee box for the 15th hole with a drive over a rocky creek bed to the green at a distance of 158 yards requiring a par-3 designation and Arbaugh hit for bogey and par.
Arbaugh shot for par at hole no. 16 with a distance of 398 yards on the first day and a bogey on the second round.
The 17th hole with a distance of 432 yards took one extra stroke for Arbaugh to finish on both rounds to complete the course.
Arbaugh is confident about having another opportunity to finish his career at Oglebay next season.
“He played with confidence today. He is already talking about next year,” Moorefield Golf coach Wade Armentrout stated.[/private]