Mitchell McFarland has brought with him momentum from the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) as he returned to local golf links with his fellow Wheelersburg Pirate teammates to begin a new quest for a state championship.
On Thursday, McFarland won the Portsmouth Invitational — his second victory in three starts — at the Elks Country Club. The junior sensation shot a 71, which tied him with River Valley’s Logan Sheets. However, on the first playoff hole, McFarland came away with a par while Sheets bogeyed the hole.
“I’m really happy to start my junior season off like that,” McFarland said. “It feels very good to start off on a good note. I know my best golf is still ahead of me. I’m off to a good start and that’s just what I want. I’m real excited about what’s to come.”
There were 14 teams who participated in the Portsmouth Invitational; Logan, Piketon, Galia Academy, Warren, Logan Elm, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, West Union, Jackson, Clay, Chillicothe, Waverly, River Valley and Wheelersburg.
Logan won the event as a team, shooting a collective 304, while Piketon shot a 318 to come in second. Wheelersburg struggled as a group, shooting a 415, which placed them directly behind River Valley who shot a 408 as a team.
Despite not enjoying the team success, McFarland keeps piling on the individual accolades. His philosophy toward the game is simple but effective.
“Just taking one match at a time, one hole at a time and even one shot at a time,” McFarland said. “That’s my approach.”
After spending his summer playing in AJGA events, McFarland acknowledged the difference between those events and high school matches; most notably was the extra confidence the AJGA experience has given him. Not that he needs any extra confidence in his game.
“It’s definitely a big change playing high school golf instead of AJGA,” McFarland said. “And I feel really confident. It’s a lot different but it’s a good experience.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.