|Mon, Sep 22, 2014 08:18 PM
|Issue of September 17, 2014
June 25, 2014 | 11:04 AM
Off the green on 18 at the state finals, Mitchell Frederick and Timothy Wiseman echoed a common verb: battle.
One hundred golfers from the state took to the 36-hole tournament hosted by The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin. Some battled and lost the struggle.
The battling of the elements, greens and their personal swing was often won by the talented Corydon Central duo.
Playing from an uphill lie, Corydon Central's Mitchell Frederick lofts a shot toward the green during the state tournament.
In the end, both spent time near the top of the leader board and, by minimizing mistakes, wound up with the best individual performances in school history.
During the second round last Wednesday, Frederick tallied five birdies to shoot an even-par 72. Wiseman was steady with his round, putting in 16 pars to shoot 1-over par 73. For the tournament, the Panthers golfers shot 1-over par 145s to earn a share of fifth place.
"I was pretty confident," Frederick said. "My goal for the tournament was 2-under to 4-over. I really like this course and the way it sets up. I came out and didn't play well yesterday, but 1-over through two days at the state tournament, top 10 finish, I'll take it."
"For how I hit the ball, it was pretty good actually," Wiseman said. "I didn't hit many fairways or greens today, but I battled. It was definitely a struggle but I battled to get a good score."
Four shots back is where Frederick and Wiseman finished. State champion Columbus North also had the individual title holders in Christian Fairbanks and Michael VanDeventer. Each finished with 3-under par rounds, holding off third-place finisher Dylan Meyer (2-under) from Evansville Central.
Juniors Frederick and Wiseman, along with fellow fifth-place earner Westfield's Johnny Deck, were the tops among underclassmen.
"Hanging on to a top five first year at state is unbelievable," Corydon Central coach Kevin Nash said. "They both played in big tournaments, but this is different. You are playing for everybody, and they want to do well."
Entering Wednesday at even par, Wiseman quickly moved to one under when he sank a putt on the opening hole. He nearly had back-to-back birdies, but his attempt on No. 2 skimmed the rim of the hole.
Meyer, who played in Wiseman's group, birdied the first two to extend his lead.
"My second hole, after I made a birdie on one, hit a good putt that didn't go," Wiseman said. "Later on 15, it couldn't have gotten any closer. I also had a couple of bombs that I made that I don't normally make."
Wiseman, however, evened out the rest of the front nine. He had a string of nine straight pars.
Wiseman admitted that he struggled to find consistency with his swing. It was his play around the greens and around the hole that helped offset his trouble seeking greens and fairways.
"It's really hard mentally," Wiseman said. "You're trying to salvage some holes by hitting greens. I wanted to give myself a chance at birdies, even at 15, 20 feet away. It is hard and can lose focus quickly. I held it together for the most part."
Loads of pars followed Wiseman on the back nine as well. He added eight more to his scorecard. It was the 11th hole, a 406-yard par-4, that gave him trouble both days. Following a double bogey on Tuesday, Wiseman had another on Wednesday.
He managed to put those shots behind him and save par with a long putt on No. 12.
Corydon Central's Timothy Wiseman (bucket hat) and Mitchell Frederick (black hat) are greeted along with three other fifth-place finishers during the awards ceremony at the state final last Wednesday.
"Same as yesterday, my short game was going good with the exception of one hole," Wiseman said. "The par on 12, I don't see how that went in."
For Frederick, he couldn't have started his round any better. He played the front nine 3-under par.
It all started for the junior on the par-3 third hole. Reaching the green on his shot from the elevated tee box, Frederick knocked in his putt.
"The really tough par-3 because, in the practice round, I doubled it, then yesterday I bogeyed it," Frederick said of the key hole one front nine. "Today, getting the birdie was nice. To see a one putt fall was nice."
Another birdie followed on No. 4, then a smart play on No. 5 quite possibly saved him a stroke. With a tee shot in the tall grasses, Frederick played out to the fairway and got up and down for a par.
Out of the save, Frederick put in a birdie on the par-5 sixth.
He made the turn at 2-under par and, at that moment, had a share of the overall lead.
"After the first nine, playing 3-under, I felt like everything was going in," Frederick said. "I thought in the end I would go lower than I did."
Frederick found trouble on two holes on the backside. His shot on No. 10 found the water. On No. 14, he had to take a drop after his ball found a unplayable lie in the right rough. Each led to double bogeys.
"It was a bad swing on No. 10 putting me in the water," Frederick said. "I battled back from that double but took another on 14. It was hard to battle back that late in the round after that one."
To make up for some of the lost shots, Frederick had birdies on No. 13 and 17. His approach on 17 was in tight, setting up a rather easy putt.
"I had 134 (yards) and the wind with me, so I hit a 54-degree," Frederick said. "I normally fade that, and the wind took it a little more than I would like but still put it at three feet."
Overall, the second day of the tournament was steady on the scorecard for both players, hanging around even par.
"When we talked on the way to the course Tuesday morning, I said, 'Guys, don't shoot yourselves out of the tournament. Give yourselves a chance'," Nash said. "They did."
"They both had different game plans because they are different players," Nash said. "They each played to their individual strengths over two days, and it paid off. I'm very proud of them."
Between rounds, they had a little fun with teammates who also made the trip to Franklin. Timothy's brother, Tommy, along with Quinton Coffman, took to the miniature golf links.
"I thought it would hurt, but, apparently, I need to go play every time," Frederick joked. "Timothy and Tommy were tied going into the last hole, and Tommy missed a putt."
"It was fun," Timothy Wiseman said of the mini-golf round. "The reason why, last summer I went and played Putt-Putt before a round at Notre Dame and the next day I shot 69. So, all day we talked about playing Putt-Putt. Good medicine, I guess. No 69 today but close enough."
The experience of playing at the state meet is something Wiseman hopes to take to the future. Playing alongside Meyer on both days, one of the tournament favorites, Wiseman drew advice from him.
"I was talking to Dylan Meyer on the last green, and he told me that it was emotional," Wiseman said. "That hit me, because he has had a great career, and I want to continue to have a good career next year. The fact I can hopefully come back again next year is pretty cool."
When asked about the greatest improvement out of each golfer, Nash said one common point of emphasis is slowing the game down and maturing.
"Timothy has become so consistent," Nash said. "He does not let things get to him. As a spectator said, he goes around and golfs his ball. It doesn't matter where it is, he finds it and hits the next shot. He doesn't get upset if he gets a bad break."
Nash added that both Wiseman and Frederick worked tirelessly on their games in the offseason. For Frederick, Nash said his confidence is obvious.
"It's amazing how different he is this year because, if something went wrong, he'd show anger," Nash said. "He knows he can make birdies to make the ground up, so he forgets about it and moves on."
It doesn't mean Frederick wasn't reflective on what could have been after his round.
"Realistically, it was two bad shots," he said. "I keep thinking what would happen if I didn't hit those. That's golf."
Earning the top five spots gave Frederick and Wiseman the spotlight during the post-tournament awards ceremony. The top 10 individuals earned medals; later the Corydon Central pair were recognized as All-State performers.
"I won't ever forget this week, especially doing it with Mitchell," Wiseman said. "We came up here, played a practice round together. We stayed in the same hotel room. Playing behind him both days and seeing him do well was special. Hanging out with him and even playing Putt-Putt was awesome."
Nash said the pair proved they belonged not only in the field, but among the better golfers in the state.
One of the goals of Frederick and Wiseman coming into the season was to work toward earning college interest. Before the season began, Wiseman verbally committed to Ball State University and, after regional, Frederick did the same with the University of Southern Indiana.
"I'm glad they backed up both their first rounds to prove they belonged," Nash said. "It wasn't a fluke because they are good. A break here or there, and we're waiting around to see if their scores are good enough to win."
Capturing its first state title since 1934 was Columbus North. The Providence Regional champs came away with an impressive two-day team score of 591. Backing up a 299 on Tuesday, the Bulldogs shot 292 on Wednesday to finished 15-over par as a team.
Three strokes divided the next four teams with Westfield (602) finishing second, Hamilton Southeastern (603) in third, while Carmel and Pendleton Heights tied for fourth with 604s. After the first 18 holes, Columbus North held a three-stroke lead over Carmel.
"I'm glad (Frederick and Wiseman) did so well and accomplished a lot, but I really wish there were three more guys with us," Nash said. "I think we could have competed, especially the way our guys competed over two days."
Among the five players who participated in events for the Panthers this season, only one — Tommy Wiseman — will be lost to graduation.
"It was a really good learning experience," Frederick said. "This will prepare me for next year when, hopefully, our whole team is here."
"The fact we came up here and tied for fifth is cool," Wiseman said. "Hopefully, he and I, along with the rest of the team, are here next year to experience this."
Team standings: 1. Columbus North 591, 2. Westfield 602, 3. Hamilton Southeastern 603, 4t. Carmel 604, 4t. Pendleton Heights 604, 6. Center Grove 612, 7. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 613, 8. Bloomington South 627, 9. Yorktown 628, 10. NorthWood 636, 11. Sullivan 640, 12. Plainfield 643, 13t. Boone Grove 656, 13t. Evansville Memorial 656, 15. Homestead 658.
Individual standings (top 10 awarded medals): 1t. Christian Fairbanks (Columbus North) 71-70-141, 1t. Michael VanDeventer (Columbus North) 70-71-141, 3. Dylan Meyer (Evansville Central) 70-72-142, 4. Michael Makris (Mishawaka Marian) 75-68-143, 5t. Jake Brown (Carmel) 73-72-145, 5t. Johnny Deck (Westfield) 75-50-145, 5t. Trevar Denney (Pendleton Heights) 73-72-145, 5t. Mitchell Frederick (Corydon Central) 73-72-145, 5t. Timothy Wiseman (Corydon Central) 72-73-145, 10t. Chris Heck (Center Grove) 73-73-146, 10t. Preston Van Winkle (Heritage Hills) 73-73-146.