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Buch, Segrist split top Howard County boys golf all-county honors

Howard County Times sports editor Brent Kennedy recaps the 2014 boys golf season. (Megan Rufty/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)

They may attend different schools, but for as long as the two of them can remember, Marriotts Ridge's Bennett Buch and Glenelg's Steven Segrist have been inseparable on the golf course.

They practice together, play together and, in high school matches and tournaments, always seem to gravitate toward one another at the top of the leaderboards. They are best friends who double as one another's fiercest rival.

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And, the truth is, neither of them would have it any other way.

"We make each other better, there's no doubt about that," Buch said. "Over the years, even back when we were first starting, we were constantly trying to get better just so we could have bragging rights. We really hate losing to each other."

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Segrist added, "Sometimes our matches just for fun at Cattail (Creek Country Club) are just as intense as actual tournaments. We know if we want to beat one another we have to be at our best."

More often than not both Buch and Segrist were indeed at their best this fall. They each finished with scoring averages around 27 points (even par) during the regular season, traded victories at the county and district tournaments, and then wrapped things up with top-seven finishes at the state tournament.

So it would seem only fitting that, after finishing so close to one another all season, the duo splits this year's top county boys golf honor — being named the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier co-Players of the Year.

It is the second Player of the Year award for each of them.

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"I almost feel like they have a sibling rivalry at this point, where they have that mindset of you can't let your brother outdo you," Glenelg coach Chris Beil said. "Bennett won states two years ago, then Steven worked even harder and he won last year. Then Steven won counties this year and then Bennett came back and won Districts. I see that competitiveness in both of them."

For Segrist, a senior who has been an all-county player all four years of high school, he was able to check off the final items on his to-do list this fall.

He finished with the highest regular-season scoring average of his career, leading the county with 27.3 points a match. His efforts included no rounds worse than one-over par (26 points) and he posted three matches with under par scores. His best day was 29 points (2-under par) in a tri-match against Marriotts Ridge and Atholton to close the regular season.

"This year was by far my most consistent year all-around … I never really had a bad match. I think a lot of that was because I was able to get rid of the weaknesses in my game," Segrist said.

The real crowning achievement was Segrist's performance at the county championship tournament where he fired a one-under par score of 55 points to beat Buch by a shot. It was the first time in his career Segrist had won the event.

He then wrapped up his season with a third-place finish at the District V championships (74) and a tie for seventh at states (74, 75 — 149).

When you factor in his junior season where he won the district and state individual championships, Beil says Segrist stands alone atop the list of great golfers to come through Glenelg.

"He's got to be the best to come through here and that's saying something because Glenelg has a storied history for golf with some great players over the years," Beil said. "Steven did something no one else has done here, winning all three postseason tournaments."

Buch, meanwhile, has managed to compile a resume that is eerily similar to his counterpart and he's still only a junior. This fall, he too was all about consistency with no rounds during the regular season worse than 26 points (one-over par).

His final scoring average of 26.8 was third best in the county and Buch says it could have been even better.

"It's not that 27 is a bad average, I just felt like with the way I hit the ball all season my scores could have been a couple points better almost every time. The putts simply weren't falling a lot of the time," Buch said.

Buch kicked off his postseason with the runner-up finish to Segrist (shooting 54 points — even par) at counties, but came back at districts and delivered the highlight of his season. With a round of 71, he came from behind down the stretch to win the District V event for the second time in his career.

He then wrapped things up at states with a third place finish. His 146 total was the best of any Howard County golfer.

Overall, Buch says he thought this was his best high school season to date — even better than his freshman year where he won district and state titles.

"Freshman year, my fundamentals were actually pretty sloppy, but I just happened to hit a hot streak there in October at the perfect time. This year, I may not have won a state championship, but my game and my swing was a lot more sound and I had that consistency from the beginning of the season to the end," Buch said.

Next year, the two guys will temporarily part ways. Segrist will head to play college golf at Elon University, while Buch will return for his senior season at Marriotts Ridge and try to guide the Mustangs to their fourth consecutive team state championship.

But the plan is for a reunion in the fall of 2016, as Buch has verbally committed to join Segrist at Elon. For the first time, the two will get a chance to be teammates.

"It's going to be a lot of fun … I feel like we could have a really good team," Segrist said. "It's not something we really planned out or anything, we just both really enjoyed the school and the coach and decided it would be a good fit individually. Being there together will just be a nice bonus."

Named to the all-county first team are:

Jackson Courtney, Marriotts Ridge sophomore

Season highlights: Finished with the county's second-best scoring average during the regular season of 27 points a match. Fired three rounds of 29 points (2-under par). Placed ninth at the county championship tournament (43 points), tied for 13th at the District V tournament (82) and wrapped things up by tying for 26th at states (74, 83 — 157).

Patrick Hardy, Mt. Hebron senior

Season highlights: Put together a career-best scoring average of 24.1 points a match during the regular season, including a one-under-par round of 28 points in a tri-match against River Hill and Centennial at Hobbit's Glenn. Finished tied for 11th at the county championship tournament (41 points), sixth at the District V tournament (77) and closed his season by finishing in a tie for 37th at the state tournament (83, 78 — 161).

Young Lee, Glenelg junior

Season highlights: Posted a scoring average of 23.9 points a match and his season high was 27 points (even par) in a tri-match against River Hill and Long Reach at Cattail Creek. Finished tied for third at the county championship tournament (48 points), before tying for 13th at the District V championships (82) and just missing qualifying for states.

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Matt McShane, Centennial senior

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Season highlights: After a slow start, bounced back to end the regular season with a scoring average of 23 points per match. He went for a season-high 27 points in a match against Gleneg. Placed in a tie for fifth at the county championship tournament (45 points), was tied for fourth at the District V championships (76) and then wrapped things up with a tie for 18th at the state championships (79, 76 — 155).

Nick Mejia, Marriotts Ridge sophomore

Season highlights: Closed the regular season on a high note by posting a season-high 29 points in a tri-match victory over Glenelg and Atholton. That finishing effort helped him post a scoring average of 23.8 points a match. Finished in a tie for third at the county championship tournament (48 points), tied for eighth at the District V championships (79) and then was tied for 40th at states (81-81 — 162).

Chris Robinson, Atholton senior

Season highlights: Regular season scoring average was 21.4 points a match and that included a 25-point day in a victory over Long Reach. Placed in a tie for fifth at the county championship tournament (45 points), was tied for 13th at the District V championships (82) and finished in a tie for 40th at states (82, 80 — 162).

Max Rosenthal, Atholton senior

Season highlights: Finished the regular season with a 20.9 scoring average, including a season-high 24 points in a match against Howard. Took home eighth place at the county championship tournament (44 points), seventh at the District V championships (78) and ended his season with a tie for 33rd at the state tournament (81, 79 — 160).

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