The 101st Metropolitan Championship concluded with an
exciting and closely contested final round at Springboro's Heatherwoode Golf Club.
Mikkel Mathiesen, holding a six-shot lead, approached the day with caution,
fully aware of the challenge posed by his Wright State teammate, Shane Ochs,
who kept the pressure on for 15 holes.
Mathiesen, however, remained composed and displayed remarkable
skills as he navigated the final four holes. With a stellar round of 68, he
finished the tournament at an impressive 18-under par, securing his second
consecutive Metropolitan victory and tying the Championship Low Total Record
set in 2017.
Reflecting on the tough competition, Mathiesen humbly
acknowledged Ochs' exceptional performance, recognizing that his teammate could
have easily been the one lifting the trophy. Nevertheless, Mathiesen expressed
his joy at coming out on top and achieving the win.
Mathiesen's strong start in the tournament, including an
opening-round 62, set the tone for his dominant performance. He consistently
held the lead at the end of each round, entering Sunday at 15-under, with Ochs
trailing at 9-under. Mathiesen strategically aimed for a few under-par scores,
making it difficult for Ochs to catch up.
Ochs, a sophomore at Wright State and a Carroll graduate,
put up a remarkable fight, catching up to Mathiesen at 18-under through 14
holes. Ochs showcased his skills with five birdies and two eagles during the
round, displaying his determination to challenge his senior teammate.
The pivotal moment came at the par-4 16th hole, where
Mathiesen regained control. Ochs' tee shot ended up in a penalty area, leading
to a drop and penalty stroke. Although he displayed skill with his second shot,
his chip went too long, resulting in a double bogey. Meanwhile, Mathiesen made
a bogey but managed to maintain a two-stroke lead.
The final hole also proved challenging for Ochs, as a
wide tee shot and a second shot into a greenside bunker resulted in another
double bogey, concluding the final round with a score of 66.
Despite the disappointment of not clinching the top spot,
Ochs acknowledged his great week of play, finishing an impressive 14-under for
the entire tournament. He praised Mathiesen's performance and was content with
finishing as the runner-up.
Looking ahead, Mathiesen expressed his aspirations to
compete for a third straight Metro title next year once concluding his already successful
Wright State career.
The final leaderboard featured several Wright State
players, with Adam Horn and Ian Asch tying for third place at 3-under. Both
Ochs and Mathiesen consistently shot in the 60s throughout the four-day event,
highlighting the strength of their team and their familiarity with the home
In the final round, there were a total of seven under-par
rounds, with a scoring average of 72.87 for the field, the lowest of the
Championship among the 35 players who made the cut.
Mathiesen's impressive score of 18-under par ties the
Metropolitan low scoring record, jointly holding it with Josh Gilkison, who
achieved the same feat back in 2017 when the Championship was last held at
Heatherwoode Golf Club.
The par-five ninth hole returned as the easiest hole,
playing at 498 yards and yielding 20 birdies and one eagle on the day.
Conversely, the par-four eighteenth remained the toughest challenge, playing at
475 yards and averaging 2/3 of a stroke above par, with only two birdies
recorded in the final round.
Special appreciation was extended to Heatherwoode Golf
Club and the City of Springboro for hosting the 101st Metropolitan
Championship. The exceptional efforts of Dan Walter and the turf staff in
preparing the course each day were acknowledged and valued by all.
Final Round ScoresFinal Round Photos
Recap of Championship in Dayton Daily News, Written by Jeff Gilbert