Wind, rain delay slow golf regional
The wind they could deal with, but an hour-plus weather delay interrupted the rhythm of North Harrison’s pair at Friday’s Seymour Boys’ Golf Regional.
Neither North Harrison’s Matt Bruce nor Dylan Spencer shot low enough scores to advance to state, but for a pair of sophomores, they took quite a bit from the event.
Bruce found the par-3s difficult, but drove the ball well on the remaining holes to card a five-over-par 77, just two strokes off from making his first state appearance.
‘I hit the driver great, I chipped OK, putted good, but if anything let me down, it’d be my iron game,’ Bruce said. ‘With the conditions as they were and the condition the course is in, I didn’t feel I played too awfully bad.’
Early morning winds along the 6,709-yard Shadowood Golf Course consistently blew around 15 to 25 miles per hour, affecting some golfers but serving as an advantage to others. The Bermuda Grass fairways along the scenic course have suffered from the recent drought in the area, causing some lies difficult to play.
After finding himself two-over after the first three holes, Bruce went for the green on the 352-yard par-four fourth hole. With the wind at his back, Bruce carried the ball over three front side bunkers, landing just 10 yards from the green. A birdie on the fourth, followed by another on the fifth, put the sophomore back at even.
Unfortunately for Bruce, the par-3s were an issue. On the eighth hole, he pitched over the green, then two-putted for a double bogey.
‘The par-3s were ridiculous,’ he said. ‘If you hit it long, you might as well hit it off the green, chip up and take your bogey. I hit a shot I thought was good, I get up there, and it’s a touch past the hole and I putt it off the green. There’s not much you can do.’
On the back nine, Bruce played par golf until carding bogeys on the last two par-3s. At four-over heading into the 18th, Bruce hit a monster drive, then tried the best he could to shed a stroke. An aggressive chip and putt left him with a bogey on the home hole.
‘I hit the ball well, but the conditions were tough,’ Bruce said summing up his round. ‘The wind kind of kicked in there and it played hard. I was five-over on the par-3s which really hurts when you shoot five-over total.’
Spencer had a tough go on the front nine, before finishing his round with an 84. It was a struggle to score low for Spencer, who carded a 44 on the first nine. Spencer rallied back, scoring pars on four consecutive holes before the weather delay hit.
After a hour and 20 minute delay, Spencer said his rhythm was altered when he went back out.
‘After the rain, when we had a pause in between, that was just when I got out of my groove,’ he said.
The result was a three-putt on the 14th hole, a double-bogey. Other than the double on 14, Spencer played much better on the more challenging backside, carding a 40.
‘It was a neat experience,’ Spencer said. ‘I’m only a sophomore. I’ve got two more years of this hopefully. It’s not nerve-wrecking like I thought it would be, it’s just go out there and play.’
Spencer was the beneficiary of Corydon Central’s Cody Warmoth mistake at sectionals, when the Panther freshman signed the wrong scorecard. Warmoth’s DQ opened the door for Spencer and Christian Academy’s Troy Walters to make regionals.
North Harrison coach Kelly Cooper was pleased with the performance of his two young swingers, but knows they could have done better.
‘I think it’s a great experience for them to come here,’ Cooper added. ‘The pressure situation can get to you at times, but I am overall pleased with how they played. They both know they can play better, I know they can play better, but it’s their first time here and it is kind of expected. I think it has been a great season for them.’
The two will make up a solid one-two punch for the Cougar golf team over the next two seasons.
‘You know we’ve got two more years, and we always can do better in the future,’ the talented Bruce said. ‘We are young. If we can get a couple of our guys playing better for next year, hopefully we (as a team) can make it out of our sectional and all of us go to regional.’
Defending state champion Floyd Central won the regional meet for the second consecutive year, blowing away the field with a 292. Bloomington South finished second with a 308 and Batesville scored a 313, one stroke better than Columbus North.
The top three teams ‘ Floyd, Bloomington South and Batesville will move on to the state tournament this weekend at The Legends of Indiana in Franklin.
Floyd Central’s Ben Engle shot a two-under-par 70 for the lowest round on the day. Rounding out the Floyd scores were Jon Shackelford (72), Collin Curry (74) and Steven Shaffer (76).
Individuals advancing to the state meet were Ransom Davis, Madison 71; Logan Watts, New Albany, 72; Garrett Garmond, Greensburg, 75; Sam Cobb, Bedford North Lawrence, 75; Tyler Duncan, Columbus North, 75.
The top three finishers not on a qualifying team including ties advanced to state.
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