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The Golf Cats Win the State Championship

By Anthony McFarlin '23, 10/26/22, 11:00AM EDT


For the fourth time in program history the Golf Cats are OHSAA Division I Champions. The Wildcats have repeated as State Champions.

COLUMBUS, Oh - For the fourth time in program history, the Saint Ignatius Golf Cats are OHSAA Division I State Champions. With a two-day team score of 610, the Wildcats came out on top at the Scarlett Course at The Ohio State University and have gone back-to-back as State Champions. Along with winning a title as a team, the Wildcats also had an individual golfer crowned as a State Champion in senior Nick Piesen. 

"That is pretty incredible while at Saint Ignatius to win two of four State Champions; that is a great number," explains Piesen. "This is a true honor and is amazing." 

Day one of the State Tournament began on a delay due to frost on the course. The hour delay pushed back the start time for the field to begin play. "We didn't put any thought into it; it was an extra hour of rest," says junior Bradley Chill. "It is the same for everybody and we didn't let that get in the way."

In his fourth season at the helm, Head Golf Coach PJ Myers '99 has hoisted his second State Championship. "This whole team manages their expectations extremely well," explains Myers. "The number they shot on the first day wasn't indicative of how they played all season. These boys were able to understand the course and my message heading into Saturday was for them to be themselves."

After the first day from Columbus, the Wildcats led the pack with a team score of 307. Saint Ignatius led by three strokes, with St. Xavier breathing down the neck of the Cats for day two. There are incredible programs that competed at the State Tournament that the Wildcats had to fend off. Those programs included St. Xavier, Mason and Archbishop Hoban. 

"Hoban is extremely talented and they can shoot a state record number any day; they pushed us to be better through the season," Myers says. "St. Xavier has an excellent program and those boys love to play in the big moment and Mason is a top program as well; they won the Kiely Cup this season and they have played tremendous golf all season."

When it comes to golf, the mental game is one of the essential keys to keep in check and the Cats found a way to keep their emotions in check. "Our mindset heading to Columbus was doing our own thing this week," Piesen says. "We were mentally prepared and I think that is why we repeated. We knew what to do on that course and didn't have to worry about the other teams there."

Day two in Columbus showcased plenty of exciting moments on the course for the Wildcats. Piesen was on his game from the start. On the 12th hole, he made a 20-foot putt. On the next hole, Piesen would birdie on a 30-foot shot. The University of Indiana commit proved why he was one of the best in the field at States. 

Senior Michael O'Leary would chip in a shot from behind the green on the 17th hole that helped him finish with a two-day total of 159. "This was huge all the way around; Michael took his game to the next level and won our District Championship," says O'Leary. "The fifth man score at the State Championship breaks the tiebreaker; if it came down to it, Michael's score would have won us the tiebreaker by a shot." 

Kent State commit senior Connor Malicki and junior Julian Dugan would finish with a two-day total of 158. "Connor has grown so much over these last four years," explains Myers. "We saw Connor's talent and it came to fruition his junior year. His offer from Kent State took the stress off him heading into his senior season."

"Julian has had a complete body of work through each tournament and has won the most tournaments on the team," Myers says. "He had a solid score on day one and put in a phenomenal day of work on day two."

Chill finished with a score of 150, which placed him second in the field. He would tie with a pair of Mason golfers and a member of St. Francis DeSales in the individual rankings. "Bradley has the capability of winning any golf tournament he enters," explains Myers. "His sheer ability to play golf and dial in made him place second with a tremendous score."

"It feels great; we have an incredible group of guys. Everyone worked hard over the off-season, trying to grow as better golfers and teammates," says Chill. "There was a great team atmosphere at every invite and we encouraged each other daily."

Piesen became the fifth Saint Ignatius golfer to win an individual State Championship with a two-day score of 148. When Piesen nailed his final putt, he pumped his fist, knowing that he had secured a State Championship victory for the Wildcats. 

"Nick has been a great player and leader throughout the season. He is a high caliber player with the passion for winning every golf tournament," explains Myers. "This is something he had his eyes set on since he stepped through the doors at Saint Ignatius. He was extremely determined and was calm throughout the tournament."

This is the second time in program history that the Golf team has repeated as State Champions. The 2001 and 2002 teams were the first to repeat. "There is a lot of excitement and gratitude all the way around. This is for the boys and helping them reach their goals," explains Myers. "This is about the families surrounding the team and the boys wanted to bring another championship home to Saint Ignatius. It always comes down to the last five holes in October and I couldn't be happier for them."