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Panthers battle tough field

Panthers battle tough field
Panthers battle tough field
Corydon CentralÂ’s Mitchell Frederick, above, leans forward to get a better look at his tee shot off the box on No. 7. The sophomore finished with a 77 at the Providence Regional, held Thursday at Champions Pointe Golf Club.Photos by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Making it to the state final in golf is no easy task.
Returning to the Providence Regional for the second consecutive year, the Corydon Central boys’ golf team not only improved its team score on the challenging Champions Pointe Golf Club course, but found itself among the contenders.
Only three team spots were up for grabs among the 18 competing schools at Thursday’s regional. Powerhouse golf programs Columbus North (297), Floyd Central (301) and Jasper (302) earned the team spots to play at the state tournament.
Corydon Central placed sixth, scoring a 315. A year ago, the Panthers shot 327, placing seventh among the then 12-team regional.
‘We had three guys in the 70s, which put us close to where we needed to be,’ Corydon Central coach Kevin Nash said. ‘It’s a strong field. There is a 306 and a 307 that won’t make it out. I figured a 305 would give us a shot, but that would have taken a big day out of our guys.’
Four of Corydon Central’s five golfers ‘ Timothy and Tommy Wiseman, Ryan Crawford and Mitchell Frederick ‘ played in the regional last season. This time around, all four shot better than the previous year’s effort. Steven Coleman was the lone newcomer to the event.
‘We’re losing one senior, and he didn’t play with us today,’ Panthers sophomore Crawford said. ‘We’ve got to be one of the favorites to make it out next year.’
The confidence is there for the Panthers. Crawford shot a 6-over par 78 on the day. His teammate, Frederick, also a sophomore, had a steady day full of pars.
Frederick had the low score for the team, shooting a 5-over par 77, seven strokes fewer than a year ago.
‘Irons were probably the best they’ve been in a while,’ Frederick said. ‘My sand shots and driver were really good but my putter wasn’t there. A 77 is a good round, and making it to regional is good. Knowing I’m a few strokes away from state but can’t do much about that.’
The cut to make it to the state meet was a 74. Five individuals not on an advancing team moved on to state, including Madison’s Jordan Griffith, the overall medalist with a 2-under par 70, Madison’s Carson Wattenbarger (73), Columbus East’s Adam Krebs (74), Providence’s Mitchell Allender (74) and Southridge’s Tyler Gray (74).
North Harrison’s Chase Spencer also made an appearance as an individual at regional, carding an 89.
Pars ‘ 13 in all ‘ filled Frederick’s scorecard. He had several opportunities for birdies but couldn’t get a putt to fall.
‘It was a consistent day but not over the top,’ Frederick said. ‘I hit 10 greens but didn’t have a single birdie. That’s not very good. I tried to make the putts die in the hole instead of getting them there. I had a lot of putts slide off.’
Nash said Frederick had caught fire toward the end of the season.
‘You figure giving yourself that many opportunities, one is going to fall, but he would just leave them right near the cup,’ Nash said of Frederick. ‘He really picked it up at the end of the season. He is playing the best golf he’s ever played.’
One stroke behind Frederick was Timothy Wiseman and Crawford, shooting 78s.
Crawford bounced back from a bogey on the 13th hole (Corydon Central golfers started on No. 10) to birdie No. 17. After a par of No. 18, Crawford made the turn 3-over. He would par six of the next seven holes before a double bogey on No. 8.
‘It was consistently average all day,’ Crawford said. ‘I went yesterday and saw my swing coach to change some things because I hadn’t been hitting the ball well at all. I was surprised what I shot today honestly. Today is behind me, and I plan on putting work in for summer stuff. It’s a step forward.’
Hole No. 18 caused trouble for Timothy on the front nine, leaving him five strokes from even par after nine. His next nine was a different story. Three consecutive pars led to a rare triple bogey for the sophomore.
Staying steady, he quickly erased the hole from his memory and birdied the next hole, No. 5, that was followed with another bird on No. 8. The finish gave Timothy a 37 on the course’s front nine, playing it one-over par.
‘Timothy had a triple on a par 3 late in his round then turned around and birdied the next hole,’ Nash said. ‘Tommy had a couple doubles then had a bunch of pars and a birdie late. They definitely showed we’re better but made a few poor choices today. But it is a really young team playing on a tough course against great competition.’
Tommy Wiseman struggled with his first nine holes, carding a 44. He played the next nine 2-over par, finishing with an 82. A birdie on No. 8 highlighted Tommy’s day, along with 12 pars.
Corydon Central’s No. 5, Steven Coleman had a steady day, shooting 43s on both nines to finish with an 86. He pared his first two holes, leading to six for his round.
‘We’re pretty consistent but needed more birdies today,’ Nash said.
The Panthers started their round in the rain at the home course of Providence but it subsided after a few holes.
As a team, the Panthers were 12 strokes better than the year before.
‘The thing we’ve talked about all year is avoiding big numbers,’ Nash said. ‘They combined for four triples and six doubles today. In the same token, we were able to go and shoot a 315 on a pretty tough course because, mentally, they can stay in the game.’
The field is also a doozy.
‘Our regional is as tough as it gets,’ Crawford said. ‘This course is as tough as it gets, too. I’m almost positive Legends (site of state final) doesn’t play nearly this hard. To have someone like Jordan come and, at one point, be 7-under is unbelievable.’
Columbus North was able to break 300 as a team, led by second-place finisher Jake Coffey’s 71. Jasper’s Dru Hein was third with a 72.
‘I think this is as tough as the state field,’ Frederick said. ‘You have Floyd, Columbus North, Madison, Providence, Bloomington North; there are a lot of big name schools here. We haven’t been playing bad this year, but we had a hard time getting everyone to play great on the same day. I feel like today, as a team, we played good as a team.’
North Harrison’s Chase Spencer had bright moments playing in his first regional event. Paired with a golfer from regional-contending teams Floyd Central, Jasper and Center Grove, Spencer was alongside stout players.
At one point during Spencer’s round, he pared 7 of 8 straight holes (No. 8 through 15). The run of steady play ended when he took a 10 on the par-5 16th. In all, Spencer closed his appearance at regional with 10 pars, settling with an 89.
‘Chase’s play on holes 8 through 15 was as strong as it has been all year,’ North Harrison coach Ross Schulz said. ‘He just got off to a rough start, made some mental mistakes and then got hot before making a big number on 16.’
Closing his round with a par on the 18th, a tough finishing hole, pleased Spencer’s coach.
‘He finished with a par on probably the most difficult hole on the course,’ Schulz said. ‘It was definitely a good experience for him, one he can take with him moving forward.’
Mid-Southern Conference team Scottsburg also participated in the regional, placing 17th with a team score of 344. Silver Creek’s Sam Garr competed as an individual, shooting 85.
All five Floyd Central golfers scored in the 70s: Conner Welch (74), Alex Beyer (74), Devin Jenkins (76), Daniel Shepard (77) and Jack Sparrow (78).
The state final took place yesterday (Tuesday) and today at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club in Franklin.
Team scores: 1. Columbus North 297, 2. Floyd Central 301, 3. Jasper 302, 4. Providence 306, 5. Center Grove 307, 6. Corydon Central 315, 7. Bloomington North 319, 8. Madison 319, 9. Bloomington South 320, 10. South Spencer 320, 11. Columbus East 326, 12. Mitchell 327, 13. Greenwood 330, 14. Southridge 331, 15. Jennings County 333, 16. Roncalli 341, 17. Scottsburg 344, 18. North Decatur 346. (ties decided by fifth player’s score).
Individual scores: 1. Jordan Griffith (Madison) 70, 2. Jake Coffey (Columbus North) 71, 3. Dru Hein (Jasper) 72, 4t. Carson Wattenbarger (Madison) 73, 4t. Adam Krebs (Columbus East) 73, 4t. Michael VanDeventer (Columbus North) 73.
Individuals advancing without a team score: 1. Griffith (Madison) 70, 2. Wattenbarger (Madison) 73, 3. Krebs (Columbus East) 73, 4. Mitchell Allender (Providence) 74, 5. Tyler Gray (Southridge) 74.