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Positive day on the greens

Brian Smith, Sports Editor

Load up the cars, vans, trucks and buses; there will be a caravan of Harrison County contingent making their way to Champions Pointe Golf Course tomorrow (Thursday).
At Monday’s boys’ golf Providence Sectional, North Harrison used one fewer stroke to squeak past Mid-Southern Conference champion Silver Creek for the third team qualifying spot at regional with a score of 331.
Individually, Corydon Central’s Joey Wiseman made it back-to-back sectional titles, sinking a short putt on No. 18 to seal a round of 2-under par 70. Playing the opposite nine at the same time, Lanesville’s Griffen Reynolds capped off one of his best rounds with a birdie on his final hole for a 2-over par 74. Both are bound for regional.
‘I played well,’ Wiseman said. ‘I didn’t minimize my damage enough today with two three putts and a bogey on a par-5. I can’t have those. But, you are going to make some mistakes out here. I’m here to win. I want to win by 10, but it doesn’t matter as long as I get the win.’
Wiseman was never over par during the 18-hole round at Covered Bridge Golf Course. He wasted little time going under par, getting a birdie on the second hole. A pair of bogeys and two more birds left him 1-under at the turn.
On the back nine, Wiseman filled his card with eight pars. Hitting the front right of the green on the par-3 12th set him up for a 25-foot birdie putt that fell to the roar of the gallery.
‘There were a lot of birdie holes today,’ he said. ‘I always think birdie on all the holes but the par-3s. Any par-3 birdie is a bonus. Any par-5 bogey is the opposite, so it evened out.’
North Harrison wasn’t able to catch the Dragons in the conference meet but made up plenty of ground in sectional play.
‘Proud of these guys,’ North Harrison coach Ross Schulz said. ‘They played great in spurts, struggled at times, but never threw in the towel. All five did great, and they were rewarded for their effort.’
It was the first sectional appearance for Tanner Fravel, a freshman, and Ricky Baumgardner, a senior. Fravel had a steady round, carding 12 pars overall, including seven on his second nine (the front nine at Covered Bridge). Baumgardner struggled on his front nine, shooting a 46. He caught fire after the turn, pumping in four birdies to shoot even par 36. He closed with an 82.
‘Ricky was left for dead after a really rough four or five hole stretch on his front nine,’ Schulz said. ‘I checked in on him later just to give him a drink and snack, not even to see how he was playing, but I saw he was birdieing holes left and right on the front. Just a great comeback. They all contributed, but, if it wasn’t for Ricky’s second nine 36, we had no shot.’
Senior Jason Schmidt also improved from one nine to the next. After a 43 on one side, Schmidt came back with a 39 on his second to finish with an 82. The Cougars also sent out Cole Fisher (88) and Cole Hergenrather (90).
‘Tanner and Jason prepare as well as anyone for tournaments, and it showed with strong performances,’ Schulz said. ‘Jason hasn’t scored like he wanted to this season, but he doesn’t complain and just keeps at it and never lets a round get away from him. Fisher had a tough start but, to his credit, came back strong with a long stretch of pars. Our 5-man, Cole, had a great start and was actually our best score through our first 8 holes.’
Reynolds, although wearing a white polo with the Lanesville logo on it, said Covered Bridge is his home course.
‘I play out here every Sunday,’ he said. ‘My grandpa lives near here. It’s pretty much my home course with (Old Capital Golf Club). I like it out here and know where to hit it, which helps.’
Reynolds, who a few weeks back had a hole-in-one during competition, carded his first birdie on hole No. 14 (starting on hole 10). Reynolds had 12 pars during his round, making the turn at 2-over par. The next nine was seven pars and one bogey leading up to No. 10, his final hole. Putting in a birdie completed an even-par back nine to finish 2-over.
‘It started out on the back nine, and I was hitting it pretty good,’ Reynolds said. ‘I scrambled a few times but kept hitting putts and keeping the ball in play. I kept the big numbers out and finished the first nine at two over. The next nine I kept it going with pars. I had one bogey and kept parring.’
Reynolds reached the green in two on the par-5 ninth, setting up his final bird.
‘I had a lot of good looks at birdie but couldn’t get many to fall,’ he said. ‘At the end, I was just trying to stay calm. I started to get anxious late in the round because I knew I had a good opportunity to go low.’
In the team standings, Floyd Central was tops with a 310. The Highlanders were followed by fellow regional qualifier New Albany (320).
Corydon Central placed fifth with a 343. Jake Fields turned in an 88 followed by Chris Carroll (90), Seth Johnson (95) and Alex Boman (98).
Wiseman had a few golfers on his tail, including New Albany’s Nolan Keeler, who finished one stroke back with a 71. Floyd Central’s Christian McIntosh was third with a 72. All three, along with Silver Creek’s Carter Smith (79), played in the same group.
‘When you get out there, you have to grind and play,’ Wiseman said. ‘I would have said I would have shot 68 or better, but I knew at the end of the day I was up by one on Nolan. I had to make par (on 18). Nolan is a good player. I think there are a lot of high school players that you question if they can translate to college golf but he certainly can. I’m excited to see what he can do.’
South Central, led by Harvey Basham’s 86, finished with a 395. Senior classmate Bryce Lewis closed with a 91. Both had one birdie. The Rebels’ Caden Cunningham shot 94 while Colin Cunningham had a 124.
Lanesville’s squad finished with a 424 for 10th. Going with Reynolds’ 74 were Griffen Lucas (111), Connor Nolot (114), Gabe Shirley (125) and Cole Fisher (136).
Reynolds credited his iron play and putting to his successful round.
‘It’s really cool,’ Reynolds said of the regional berth. ‘I knew I could play, but I hadn’t turn the corner yet. I think today is a moment I can build from and keep on improving.’
Levi Arnold was Crawford County’s lone entrant and shot a 99.
Regional play will begin tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Team scores (top three to regional): 1. Floyd Central 310, 2. New Albany 320, 3. North Harrison 331, 4. Silver Creek 332, 5. Corydon Central 343, 6. Jeffersonville 351, 7. Providence 356, 8. South Central 395, 9. Borden 404, 10. Lanesville 424, 11. Christian Academy of Indiana 457, 12. Eastern (Pekin) 492. No team scores: Clarksville, Crawford County.
Individual results: 1. Joey Wiseman (Corydon) 70, 2. Nolan Keeler (NA) 71, 3. Christian McIntosh (FC) 72, 4. Griffen Reynolds (L) 74, 5. Reece Compton (FC) 76.
Individuals advancing to regional without a team: 1. Joey Wiseman (Corydon) 70, 2. Griffen Reynolds (L) 74, 3. Caleb Popp (P) 77.