WHEELING, W.Va. — PikeView senior Carson Proffitt couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to win Class AA low medalist than the one he was presented Wednesday on the first playoff hole in sudden-death.
Facing Fairmont Senior’s Clark Craig on the 18th hole, Proffitt hit his approach shot to within 5 feet of the pin, leaving him a makeable birdie putt, while Craig was in the range of 30 feet for birdie.
Craig settled for a two-putt par, which was good enough to get him back to the 18th tee box for another playoff hole after Proffitt couldn’t capitalize on the short-range look.
“I didn’t really push it. I just hit it way too hard,” Proffitt said. “I lined it up on the right edge just to make sure that if I did it hard, I made it. It didn’t break as much as I thought it would.”
But Proffitt didn’t let the squandered opportunity get to him.
Instead, both he and Craig made a par on the second playoff hole, before returning to play No. 18 a third time. The third time was the charm for Proffitt, who sank a birdie putt from 15 feet to better Craig’s third straight par and claim AA low medalist on a thrilling second day of the state tournament at Speidel Golf Club’s Jones Course.
“I hit a really good drive on the final hole. It didn’t draw as much as I wanted it to, so it went through the fairway,” Proffitt recalled. “I had 115 (yards) in and thought it was doable, so I just trusted my wedge game and it paid off. I hit it to about 12, 15 feet.
“Whenever I hit the putt, I thought I left it an inch short.”
While Craig came up short in his quest for low medalist, his round of 67 was the best of the day and allowed him to tie Proffitt with a two day total of 143.
The other low medalists — Wheeling Central’s Derrick Harrison in Class A and George Washington’s Joseph Kalaskey in Class AAA — also didn’t secure the honors until their final hole of the day.
Harrison, who started on No. 10, drained a birdie putt on the ninth hole from about 7 feet to card a 77, giving him a two day score of 152. That put him one shot in front of Magnolia’s Trey Blain, who went from a 78 to a 75.
“I knew it was going to be close and come down to a couple strokes here or there, but a teammate told me, ‘you better make this.’ I didn’t really pick up on it, but then right after I made it, my coach told me I had to make it to win,” Harrison said.
Kalaskey came to No. 18 needing a par to to hold off Washington’s Christian Boyd for low medalist in AAA. Kalaskey hit his approach shot to about 30 feet, before hitting a quality putt on his birdie attempt that led to a tap-in par. That finished off his round of 71 and two day total of 141, which was the top individual score of the tournament.
“On the drive, I knew it was going to be close and I didn’t want to hit some kind of wuss shot,” Kalaskey said. “I knew that I needed to hit a draw over there and I just ripped it. I knew if I hit it right, it’d be in the perfect spot and it was. It had a little draw on it.
“I had 143 in and I wasn’t feeling a full shot into the green so I hit an easy nine (iron) and I actually thinned it a little bit, so it didn’t go as far. But I was on the green and I just had to putt the way I know how to putt.”
Proffitt was the lone medalist to not also be a part of a team championship.
GW came into Wednesday’s round with a 221 and a 12-shot lead over Wheeling Park for first place. Kalaskey’s 71 helped lead to a 227 on the second day, which was good for a five-shot win over runner-up Washington, while Wheeling Park fell back into third place.
Boyd’s 69, along with rounds of 73 by Christopher Neighbors and Tanner Elliott, allowed Washington to make a major jump after it entered the second day in a tie for fifth place.
The Maroon Knights easily claimed the Class A championship, totaling a 486 for a 24-shot win over runner-up Ravenswood.
The race was relatively tight at the top of Class AA, with Westside overcoming a three-shot deficit against Grafton after the first day to take the title. The Renegades improved their team total from a 236 to a 231 after rounds of 75 by Dawson Browning, 76 by Caleb Cook and 80 by Tanner Walls. That was enough for a six-shot victory over the Bearcats, which finished runner-up and were led by Kolbe Kimbrew (76-77).
Petersburg’s Nick Fleming narrowly missed out on being a part of the playoff for Class AA low medalist. Fleming shot a 72 on both days, leaving him one shot back of Proffitt and Craig.