GRANVILLE – Katie Grunkemeyer knows who is now the top dog in the area girls golf scene.
The Johnstown senior is chasing Heath senior Annie Newhouse, and Grunkemeyer thought Monday’s round might be enough to eclipse her Licking County League foe.
“I was wondering, ‘Did I beat Annie?’ ” Grunkemeyer said. “That was the No. 1 thing on my mind because I have been playing with her in this for two years. She has definitely been the biggest rival.”
Newhouse’s 82 eclipsed Grunkemeyer’s 86, but Grunkemeyer could not be too upset. Her best round of the summer placed her second in the Licking County Junior Golf Association round at Raccoon International.
The event was the fifth of the season for the tour, which is in its 20th season. Matches are held at a different area course each Monday through the end of July.
“My summer is starting to really go up,” said Grunkemeyer, who had two 3s and nothing worse than a 6. “The first couple rounds were horrible, but I am slowly getting better. … I have been practicing every day, so practicing is really paying off. I have a big backyard, like 5 acres, so I can take a bucket of balls.”
Newhouse, the 2014 runner-up to the since-graduated Lauren Keiser, leads the way. She had a solid round Monday with a trio of 3s.
Being the competitor she is, however, the shots Newhouse missed are what stuck with her. She had a 6 and a 7 on the back nine to prevent her from possibly breaking 80.
“I lost my focus a couple times, but I guess I had it for the most part,” said Newhouse, who shot a 79 at Moundbuilders Country Club earlier this summer. “I was in the zone sometimes. … It’s not a bad day, but I know I could have done better. It is just that personal striving to do better.”
Most of Newark Catholic’s team is playing this summer, and senior Ashley Franks shot 93. Sophomore Patricia Windholtz was right behind at 94.
Newhouse was edged by Johnstown freshman Gabbie Thomas in a rain-shortened nine-hole round a week ago at Clover Valley. Thomas missed Monday’s match because she is attending a camp this week.
“There are always bigger fish in the pond somewhere, people shooting lower scores,” said Newhouse, who will play with the Heath boys this season because the defending Licking County League champion girls team was decimated by graduation. “I have to try to always beat my scores.”
Watkins Memorial juniors Michael Griffin, the 2014 tour champion, and Carter Helwagen respectively shot 81 and 82 to lead the boys standings. Watkins sophomore Gavyn Parman was leading the tour coming into the day.
“The past few years, we haven’t done much as a team in the summer, but this year, we really made sure everyone got together and was playing at least once a week, doing these county tournaments,” Griffin said. “I think we are going to have a good start to the year.”
Granville’s Coury Rogers entered the day in second place, but he did not play Monday. Lakewood’s Quinn Chapman shot 86, and Heath’s Colin Armentrout and Utica’s Max Lepley hit 87 apiece.