WHEELING — Evan Muscari had a lot to prove coming into the Class AA high school golf tournament this year.

The Wyoming East senior was upset about last year’s runner-up finish, when he clearly felt like the man to beat.

And he had a little something to prove to Marshall, which opted to give scholarships to two other state players.

Well, he did that and more Tuesday in the first round of the tournament at Oglebay Park, shooting a 2-over par 73 to take a six-shot lead over Grafton’s Chris Johns. Ironically, that was the same number of shots Muscari was behind last year after the first round.

“Yeah, I feel like I have something to prove, not just to the Marshall coach,” Muscari said. “I wanted to prove that I can come up here and compete and win this thing. Then I can go on to college, and if it’s Furman or wherever it is, I can get my golf career started there.”

Muscari had a solid round, with hiccups on Nos. 12 and 13, where he had double bogeys.

But he came back on 14 with a birdie.

That was a par-5 playing 536 yards and Muscari was on the green in two. He hit a hybrid from 225 yards on his second shot and then had a good two-putt to birdie the hole.

“I was proud of myself,” Muscari said. “It would be easy to hang your head after back-to-back doubles, but I hung in there. I played a very consistent round.”

He also had a birdie on No. 9 and parred his way around the rest of the course.

The Warriors are only four shots back of Grafton, which had a 256 team total.

“It’s been a goal of mine to win this since I showed up here as a freshman and showed I could compete with anyone,” Muscari said. “To win this and help our team win would be the perfect way to go out. It would give me four state titles (including two in basketball) and two runners-up. That’s a pretty big accomplishment and I hope we can do it.”

The weather reports for today’s final round are not encouraging.

“They’re calling for bad weather, and if that happens, it would be hard for somebody to make up that ground,” Muscari said. “Anything can happen. But I am confident in the way I’m playing.”

Oak Hill’s Nathaniel Begley is 11th overall in Class AA after firing an 86.

Defending champion Harry Howell of Scott is tied for ninth after a first-round 85.

In Class A, Fayetteville’s Nich Carte is in a three-way tie for eighth after a first round 84.

Brian Anania shot a 1-over 72 to help give Hurricane the overall lead in the Class AAA tournament.

Hurricane has an 11-stroke lead over Wheeling Park and Cabell Midland is third. Anania is four strokes ahead in the individual standings over Bridgeport’s Mark Pinti.

In Class A, Williamstown is two strokes ahead of St. Joseph and six ahead of Madonna.

Parkersburg Catholic’s Jacob Hensler posted a 74, five shots ahead of Williamstown’s Jordan Pomrenke.

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