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North graduate 2 shots off lead at city tournament

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On this day at Greenbelt Golf Course, the elder brother kept his big brother honors.

Jake Coffey, the former Columbus North star who now plays at Indiana Wesleyan, shot a first round 69 at the Columbus Men’s City Tournament to earn a tie for second, two shots off the pace set by former Men’s City champ Jeff Cowall on Saturday.

But a battle within the battle was won by Coffey, who played better than his younger brother, Ian, who shot an uncharacteristic 76. The entire field plays again today in the second round at Harrison Lake and Greenbelt golf courses.

“He’s been playing better than me,” Jake Coffey said of Ian, who is headed to University of Saint Francis on a golf scholarship.

Ian Coffey played a key role in North’s state championship last month while Jake fell one place short in 2013 when North placed second.

“I’m not jealous or ticked off,” Jake said.

“All those guys are my friends.

I guess it’s hard to describe, a little frustrating that we didn’t do it. In the end, I am really happy they did it, and I wish I could have been on this team.”

It was a tremendous accomplishment for Ian Coffey, who broke into the varsity lineup this season as a senior.

“Ian played well all those years and couldn’t get in the top five (at North),” Jake Coffey said. “That’s why it was so great to see how he handled that pressure (of the state tournament).”

Ian Coffey said ever since the brothers started playing competitive golf in middle school, it has been a battle.

“On paper, he probably is better than me,” Ian Coffey said. “I love to see him do well ... and I love to beat him.”

Ian said his brother was “more focused” as a younger player and usually held an edge.

“I kicked it into gear, probably midway through my high school career,” Ian Coffey said. “I give him a run now.”

Jake Coffey said his brother helped him improve. “He is a big reason I got gradually better. I always had great competition, and we always were trying to beat each other.”

Now when they play, it’s for bragging rights. Those went to Jake Coffey on Saturday. Last year, Coffey won the tournament after shooting 76 in the opening round at Greenbelt. He plays his second round at Harrison Lake today and next Sunday the finals will be held at Otter Creek.

“I am really happy with how I played,” he said. “I had played here before three times this year and I didn’t do this well. Normally I don’t putt well here.”

Ian Coffey struggled.

“I play here twice a year and once is the City Tournament,” Ian Coffey said.

“There are some quirky twists on this course. It is a different experience, but it is a fun course, no doubt. I am looking forward to a better round at Harrison Lake.”

In competition at Greenbelt, Cowall led the way with a 67 while Coffey was tied with Darren Hinton at 69. Also shooting 69 was Coleman Glick, the city champ two years ago who had the low score of the day at Harrison Lake.

Standing alone in fifth place was Josh Burnett, who shot 70 at Greenbelt.

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