Wiseman gives state one last go
Brian Smith, Sports Editor
It would be hard to describe the final smile on Joey Wiseman’s face as mirthless as he came off hole No. 18 after play in the final round of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s boys’ golf state finals. There was still some happiness inside.
After playing Tuesday’s opening round with four birdies and a 2-over par 74 score, Wiseman was feeling good about his chances. Being his third trip to state, Wiseman was clear his goal was to win. However, Wednesday’s round didn’t go as wished. Shooting an 80, Wiseman finished with a 12-over par score over two days to finish tied for 25th in the 100 golfer field.
‘(Round one) wasn’t exactly what we wanted either, but he was hitting most every shot perfect,’ Corydon Central coach Joseph Hinton said. ‘He probably had one or two mistakes that cost him. Yesterday was a solid round of golf. Today, he said he wasn’t sure where the ball was going at one point. He kept grinding and kept his head up. I was proud of his attitude. He kept it together for the most part.’
Wiseman kept his spirits up. Coming off 18 with a par, he gave an appreciative grin to the gallery of followers at the challenging Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
‘Just because I didn’t play well here, in the long term, I still have things ahead of me,’ Wiseman, a Ball State University signee, said. ‘I’m not going to be super mad because I’m usually in a pretty good mood. It helped seeing (BSU coach Mike) Fleck out here. It’s positive looking forward. This was my last high school tournament. It means more because you only get four shots at it, and I was able to get here three times.’
The appreciation of the gallery following him was there as well. His father and assistant coach, Michael Wiseman, was side by side with Joey for much of round two, either sharing suggestions, high fives or pats on the shoulder.
‘I appreciate the following,’ Joey Wiseman said. ‘It’s the world to me. I can’t express how much it means to me. I wish I would have given them something more to cheer for today because it would have been more fun. I love the support.’
‘Nothing he accomplished this year was because of me,’ Hinton said. ‘He’s had so many great people in his life like his coach, Greg Graham, his parents, Jennifer and Michael. The supporting cast he’s had, it shows how good of a person he is. He even has elementary kids coming up to watch him play golf because of how magnetic he is. People want to know what he was doing.
‘Hopefully, kids look up and want to be like or better than Joey Wiseman,’ he said. ‘I think he’s a great role model in the world. He has a good attitude and always keeps his head up high.’
By the end of round one, Wiseman was sitting in ninth place overall, four shots back of the leader after carding a 74.
The round featured an early birdie on his second hole (No. 11) to get to even par. After a series of pars, Wiseman went to 1-under with a tee shot on the par-3 15th reaching the green. Finding the cup, a birdie putt put him under par. Making it back-to-back birds, No. 16 saw a tight iron to the green setting up the next to get to 2-under.
A rare five-putt, trying to get his ball rolling up a hill on No. 17, saw Wiseman triple bogey No. 17 and eventually make the turn at 1-over par.
Wiseman moved back to even with another strong approach on No. 2 for a short birdie putt. Trouble on No. 3 saw Wiseman card a seven on the par-5. The rest of the way, Wiseman parred out to shoot 2-over on the near 7,000-yard course.
‘I played so well yesterday,’ Wiseman said. ‘I had two sevens that cost me a great round. It could have been a 68 and leading by two. It’s stupid to say that, but it’s true. I had a stupid seven on 17, a five-putt. It could have been a par or bogey. The other seven (on No. 3) was a bad swing I tugged left.’
The next 18 didn’t go as planned for Wiseman. Not as consistent tee to green, Wiseman found himself scrambling on several holes. A nice recovery on No. 2 saw his second shot reach the green, setting up a par. Up-and-down pars on his first and third holes kept him at even for the day.
The next two holes, however, shook Wiseman’s round. His tee shot on No. 4, a par-3, found the rough, leading to a bogey. His next tee shot found fairway sand. The second shot on No. 5 went awry, leading to a triple bogey.
‘I was four shots back at the start of the day. I was thinking a 66, 67 or 68 would have a chance,’ Wiseman said. ‘After the bogey on four, I knew it would be tough to shoot 66. That’s one of the hardest holes on the course. Five; I was dejected. After that hole, it was hard to get it back.’
Wiseman was able to par four of the next five holes. The other was his lone birdie on day two. On No. 8, a lofty wedge shot from the fairway landed softly less than a foot from the flag stick.
‘Seven, eight and nine were good holes,’ he said. ‘Seven could have been a birdie, but it was not an easy pin. Eight was a perfect wedge shot. I didn’t have to mark it; it was a tap in. Nine was a good par. It was promising before going to the back. I just didn’t find the swing on the back.’
The back nine was up and down with four pars and five bogeys.
‘Everything was different,’ Wiseman said about one day to the next. ‘I drove it really well yesterday. I hit my irons, chipped and putted well yesterday. I had two bad holes that added five shots. Today, I still chipped and putted well which is something I can take away. The swing is something Greg can fix, but that short game has to be there all the time. I think it was there today. That’s a positive in a lot of negatives in today’s round.’
During his four years of high school golf, Wiseman pumped in plenty of match scores and rounds at par or below.
‘I’ve gotten better every year,’ he said. ‘The results don’t show that at state, but I am. I know how well I am playing in my head. I am progressing in every aspect of the game. It’s not always easy to get better in golf.’
Carmel’s Nick Dentino (4-under) won a playoff against Noblesville’s Clay Merchent to take the individual title. Carmel also took home the team championship.
‘At the end of the day, Joey did the best he could to prepare himself and to give his best effort,’ Hinton said. ‘He’s a mastermind with the way he not only thinks about golf, but acts on those thoughts. It’s amazing to watch.’
‘I think his future is very bright,’ he added. ‘He’s gotten so many accolades and awards throughout the years, and he happens to be a good kid as well. That is what makes him truly a great player. It’s not just because of his ability, but the way he’s acted all year. As a coach, I’m supposed to make players better, but he’s the type of player that made me a better coach. I was truly grateful to coach him this season and at this tournament. I think he’s going to do leaps and bounds better in the future. He’s destined to achieve greater accomplishments.’
Team scores: 1. Carmel 588, 2t. Center Grove 605, 2t. Noblesville 605, 4. Guerin Catholic 617, 5t. Columbus North 630, 5t. Castle 630, 7t. Penn 634, 7t. Floyd Central 634, 9. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 637, 10. Hamilton Southeastern 644, 11. Evansville North 646, 12. Yorktown 653, 13. Crown Point 670, 14. Warsaw 671, 15. Plainfield 686.
Individual results: 1. Nick Dentino* (Carmel) 140, 2. Clay Merchent (Noblesville) 140, 3. Drew Wrightson (Brebeuf Jesuit) 143, 4t. Adam Bratton (Castle) 145, 4t. Nic Hoffman (Harrison) 145, 6t. Luke Prall (Carmel) 146, 6t. Alex Heck (Center Grove) 146, 8t. Stewie Hobgood (Evansville North) 147, 8t. Kash Bellar (Peru) 147, 8t. Drew Pickering (Heritage Christian) 147.