Hopewell-Loudon's Bryce Gorrell came into the season with a goal.
After two near misses his first two years with the Chieftains, Gorrell had a goal to get over the hump and make it to state.
Last Thursday at the Division III district tournament, Gorrell found himself in a three-way playoff, with two trips to Columbus on the line.
"It was a little nerve racking the playoff and everything," said Hopewell-Loudon coach Bob Maurer. "He bogeys the last hole to force the playoff. That was nerve racking. You had three people playing for two spots."
Gorrell said he had time after his round to get refocused on getting the job done.
"When I figured out I'd be in a playoff I regrouped," Gorrell said. "I went to the range, hit some range balls and knew what I was going to do. It was pretty nerve racking, but I just stuck with my plan and hit the ball the way I know I could."
Hitting arguably the biggest tee-shot he's ever hit, Gorrell put it right down the middle of the fairway. Gorrell won the playoff, booking a trip for himself to Columbus.
The junior will tee-off at 9:47 a.m. Friday at The Ohio State University Scarlet Course in the Division III state tournament.
"It's pretty overwhelming," Gorrell said of realizing the goal he's worked so hard for had finally been achieved. "This is the goal I set at the beginning of the year, to get to state. Freshman and sophomore year, I didn't make it; I got so close. It feels great to finally get there."
Maurer testifies to the amount of work Gorrell has put in.
"I'm extremely happy at Hopewell we have a player going to state," he said. "That was his goal all year. He worked hard and strived for it. He played junior tournaments and played big events during the summer. He put his goal out there and he's really worked hard to get that goal."
Just because his goal was accomplished doesn't mean he's done. All it means is that there's a new goal.
"Now that I've made it, it's a new goal. I'm going to try to focus on getting All-Ohio honors," Gorrell said. "It's just a matter of going up in the first round and taking each shot one at a time. If you start looking at the main picture, you get off track and lose focus."
Gorrell spent the summer working on his game, including playing in several American Junior Golf Association events, which meant playing tougher competition on more challenging courses. Gorrell feels going through those challenges will help him when he tees off Friday.
"I really started playing on bigger and tougher courses," he said. "I think that will really help me out this week being a longer course, and give me a huge advantage over some people. That is one reason I think it helped me at districts. I haven't hit my best game but I've learned to score better even when you don't have your best game. I think that's the main difference."
Gorrell already has previous experience playing the Scarlet course, which he feels gives him a leg up on those who won't see the course until today's practice rounds.
"I've played it a few times when I was staying down in Columbus," he said. "It's going to be a huge challenge for a huge field. It looks like weather will be nice so that'll ease up things a bit, but it'll give me a big advantage. I know the greens already. You really get a better feel playing three four times instead of the one round. Knowing going in, I kinda know what I'm going to do on each hole. That's huge I think, being able to make a plan then going out and doing it."
Gorrell has the game to shoot low and place high at state. But, he says the key to how high up the leaderboard he can climb goes beyond his swings.
"I just got to keep focused and don't get overwhelmed by moment," he said. "The mental side is a huge part of it."