|Tue, Sep 16, 2014 11:27 AM
|Issue of September 10, 2014
June 25, 2014 | 11:07 AM
Knifing through the gusty winds around The Legends Golf Club, Corydon Central's Timothy Wiseman and Mitchell Frederick kept their hats in place and game in focus.
Each donned a white hat for the opening round of the IHSAA boys' golf state meet; Frederick's more traditional while Wiseman was shaded by a bucket hat.
Timothy Wiseman heads toward the hole on No. 18 to retrieve his ball after sinking a birdie putt to end his round with an even par 72 after the first day at the boys' golf state tournament in Franklin. Photos by Brian Smith
As the winds kicked up on certain holes and died down on very few, the Panthers' pair were in prime position after 18 holes in a field of 100 of the state's best high school golfers.
Through the conditions and an early start time, Wiseman closed with an even-par round of 72 on the Fazio course in Franklin. Frederick, playing in a group behind his teammate off the tee, had a 1-over par round of 73.
When all the scores reported in from day one of the 36-hole event, Wiseman was sitting tied for fourth place while Frederick was tied for eighth place.
Wiseman said it was work around the green that salvaged a tough day, by his standards, in ball striking.
"My short game has been saving me pretty often," Wiseman said. "I didn't hit the ball great, and I might go work on that to get some kinks out of my swing. My short game saved me today. I hit some big putts. That kept me low today."
Through the first 12 holes on the championship course, Frederick experienced low and high scores in relation to par. He managed one par through the first dozen holes, but offsetting bogeys with birdies helped keep the ball-striker steady. Frederick came around to finish his round with six consecutive pars.
From just off the fringe, Corydon Central's Mitchell Frederick prepares to celebrate a successful birdie putt on hole No. 11.
"Going into the 13th hole I only had one par but was only one over," Frederick said. "I battled, that's for sure. I had too many three putts on the front side but ending up 1-over. I will take it."
Wiseman's round began with a 10-foot par putt save on the first hole followed by another par.
Coming to the 168-yard par-3, Wiseman easily avoided the lot of green side bunkers to place his ball within five feet of the cup. The birdie brought the junior to 1-under par.
After a bogey on No. 5, Wiseman saw a putt lip out on the par-5 sixth hole. Although he managed a par, Wiseman brought his round back to under par by sinking a putt on No. 8. He'd eventually play the front nine 1-under 35.
Frederick's opening round at the state meet was tumultuous on the front side. Three consecutive bogeys opened the round, but a two-putt for par on No. 4 brought Frederick some confidence.
A birdie sank on No. 5, then another on hole six. The sixth hole, a 539-yard par-5, was reached in two by Frederick. He two putted for birdie, moving to 1-over par.
The fourth and fifth bogeys of Frederick's round came up next. Trouble came when Frederick's tee shot found a front bunker on No. 7.
Despite the bogeys, Frederick rallied back to birdie the final hole of the front nine. His second shot, from the rough, landed softly on the green and rolled just past the hole, setting up a short birdie.
"I just needed to not three putt to see things come together," said Frederick, who recently verbally committed to University of Southern Indiana. "Driver was really good today. Driving into the wind is key and, if you get into the rough, it isn't as thick here and can play out of it to go for the green."
Momentum continued for Frederick, making two more birdies in a row. The bird on No. 11 was his big highlight of the day. Pin-high from the first cut of rough off the fringe, Frederick went with his putter. Taking a smooth tap at the white ball, it eventually nestled in between the flag and the cup for a birdie, drawing cheers from the gallery.
"It was sitting up nice and there wasn't too much of a break to it," Frederick said. "It almost bounced back out because the pin was in. I didn't want to take it out because I feared of hitting it too hard. I did exactly what I wanted to do. It gave me a lot of momentum coming off that and three birdies in a row."
Although a bogey came next, Frederick evened out his round with pars on the final six holes. He even navigated a tough spot behind a tree on No. 14 to save par.
Wiseman's round was filled with 11 pars. He came out of the gates after the turn with a par on No. 10. He eventually caught up with Frederick as slow play caused a back-up on No. 11's tee. Speed of play was never a factor again.
After the wait, Wiseman struggled on No. 11, three putting for a double bogey.
Three pars in a row kept Wiseman at 1-over, but a disappointing bogey on the par-5 15th took him to plus-2.
"It was a stupid mistake on the par 5," Wiseman said. "The wind was messing with me, and a I lost my focus. I wish I had that one back."
Coming to the next hole, Wiseman left his ball short of the green on the 173-yard par-3 16th. Chipping toward the green, Wiseman sent his ball into the cup, sending applause from on top the mounds on the back of the hole toward him.
"It was downwind, so I played it low and I actually knew it was a good shot but didn't really think it would go in," Wiseman said. "I was too frustrated from the hole before, but it was good to get one back."
Getting back to even for the tournament, Wiseman's approach on the home hole left him a manageable uphill putt for birdie. He would sink the putt, positioning him two strokes behind the leader after day one.
Wiseman, who has verbally committed to Ball State University, said Mother Nature proved to be a challenge.
"It's always windy here," he said. "It's more of a mind game. It's harder to stay focused because it's pounding you in the face, blowing your hat off. I'd rather have it pouring down monsoon-like than to play in the wind. It becomes a guessing game on some shots, making club selection tough at times."
Wiseman was paired in the same group as Evansville Central's Dylan Meyer, the co-leader after the opening round.
Meyer, bound for Illinois to play collegiately, was 2-under par 70 after his round.
"(Meyer) is very good and has a bright future," Wiseman said. "I just enjoyed walking and talking with him. He's very humble."
Wiseman said playing with one of the tournament favorites brought the best out of him.
"He's going to be hard to beat. It kind of gives me a benchmark almost," Wiseman said. "I know if I'm with him, or just a little behind him, I'm probably going to be in good position. It helped keep me focused."
Frederick said day one was a success.
"Timothy with a 72 and a great last hole, a pretty good round for both of us," Frederick said. "I know I still have a chance after today."
Joining Meyer as a co-leader after 18 holes was Columbus North's Christian Fairbanks.