News and Tribune

Clark County Sports

June 13, 2014

BOYS' GOLF — PROVIDENCE REGIONAL: Floyd, Providence fail to reach state

Highlanders end up fifth, Pioneers 13th

Memphis —  For more than a decade, it was a virtual lock that a boys’ golf team from the Clark-Floyd area would advance to the IHSAA State Finals.

But that trend ended on Thursday at Champions Pointe Golf Club.

For the first time since 2003, a squad from the area will not play in next week’s state finals at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin.

No. 15 Floyd Central placed fifth at Thursday’s Providence Regional with a team score of 312. The finish concluded the Highlanders’ five-year streak of making state and a stretch of nine state appearances in the past 10 seasons.

Floyd Central coach Mike Cason said the key factor for the Highlanders at regional was their short game.

“It was the same problem we had all year, which was chipping and putting,” Cason said. “Those two things are what you need to score with.”

The host Pioneers finished 13th with a 328. Providence tied Roncalli for 12th, but the Rebels got the spot by receiving the tiebreaker for the lowest No. 5 player score. The Pioneers did not make the state finals as a team for the second consecutive year after earning five consecutive trips to Legends from 2008-12.

“I’m pleased but a little disappointed,” Providence coach Ken Allender said about his team’s round. “Some of the kids didn’t play as well as I thought they should, but it happens. Everybody’s entitled to a bad round.”

In addition, it was the first time in several years that an individual golfer from the Clark-Floyd area failed to qualify for state. The top three teams and top five individuals on non-advancing squads at regional advanced to the state finals.

Floyd Central seniors Jack Sparrow and Connor Welch ended their careers on Thursday, shooting 75 and 76, respectively. Welch won medalist honors at the Providence Sectional on Monday with a 4-under-par 68.

Junior Clayton Crum was a stroke behind Welch with a 77.

“All three of them just missed so many opportunities to score low. [The short game] is the way you score low in high school golf,” Cason said. “But I’m proud of Connor and Jack. They’ve had really good careers. We’ve been to state three times with them and they’ve done well.”

Also for the Highlanders, junior Billy Sleight and sophomore David Shepard each shot an 84.

Despite losing Welch and Sparrow, Cason is optimistic about next season with Crum, Sleight and Shepard leading the way. The Floyd Central coach also hopes to have junior Eric Lamm back to 100 percent. Lamm battled injuries throughout the 2014 campaign.

“The three kids will have a lot of experience because they played varsity all year, and Eric Lamm has been injured pretty much all year so he’ll be back,” Cason said. “We should have a pretty good team next year.”

Providence junior Mitchell Allender came up short of returning to the state finals, firing a 76. Allender made state with the entire Pioneers’ team in 2012 and as an individual in 2013.

“I know he’s disappointed in that,” Coach Allender said. “He got off to a bad start. But the best thing I can say is that he never stopped trying. He never let go and he kept hitting some good shots. On the front nine, I think he hit eight greens. He just couldn’t get enough putts to fall. But I’m really proud of him for hanging on.”

Providence sophomore Max Leist shot a 79. It was a rough day for the Pioneers’ No. 1 golfer, Kevin Crone. The sophomore wound up carding an 85.

“He started losing his tee ball and he couldn’t get it back,” Ken Allender said about Crone. “It seemed like there was no [consistency hitting the ball in the fairway]. It was either left or right. He just couldn’t regain his composure.”

Also for Providence, senior Erich Day shot an 88 and junior Evan Wilson had a 100.

Day is the only senior the Pioneers say goodbye to. Like Cason, Coach Allender thinks his team can be very strong next season with four starters back.

“We have a solid nucleus coming back and I think I’ve got some help coming [in the incoming freshman class],” the Providence boss said. “There’s some really, really fantastic freshmen and a couple of other guys on the team that are working hard. We should be really talented.”

New Albany junior Kunal Bhanushali scored an 84, which pleased Bulldogs’ coach Rick Belcher.

“There was nothing outstanding in his round, but nothing terrible either,” Belcher said. “It was a long golf course for a short hitter. It was a big test for him when you are hitting 4- and 5-iron into the greens where most of the kids are hitting wedges and 9-irons. It’s a big difference. But he managed the course well and he played well. I was proud of the way he handled himself because sometimes when you know you’re not going to shoot the number you need to shoot to get out, you end up shooting a 90. But he just kind of stayed steady. An 84, I have no problem with.”

Three players from the West Clark Community Schools Corporation competed at the regional. Henryville sophomore Luke Davidson was the top player of the trio with an 83 in his first regional appearance.

“His ball-striking was off a bit and his short game was off a bit as well. Instead of getting up and down and making pars, he was missing greens and had several bogeys. He just couldn’t offset the bogeys,” Hornets’ coach Robin Embry said. “But he’s had a very good season and he handled himself well today.”

In his second regional trip, Silver Creek junior Sam Garr shot an 86. Borden sophomore Kamden Hurst wound up with a 90 in his first regional trip.

“It was good to see all three West Clark schools in the regional with Sam and Kamden. I was really proud of West Clark, in general,” Embry said.

No. 8 Corydon Central was one stroke shy of earning its first state berth since 1968. The Panthers finished fourth with a 304, while ninth-ranked Bloomington South placed third with a 303. No. 2 Columbus North won its fourth consecutive regional title with a 298. No. 7 Center Grove placed second with a 301.

Two Corydon players qualified for state as individuals. Timothy Wiseman and Mitchell Frederick each shot a 73, and then competed in a five-way playoff to determine the final four individual berths. On the first hole of the three-hole playoff, which was the par-4 10th, Wiseman sank a birdie putt and Frederick made par to earn their state berths. Meanwhile, Bedford North Lawrence’s Trey Turner and the Heritage Hills’ pair of Corey Teaford and Preston Vanwinkle each made a bogey.

After Turner, Teaford and Vanwinkle each pared the 18th hole, Vanwinkle had a birdie and Turner made par on the final playoff hole at the 10th to qualify for state. Teaford had a bogey on the third playoff hole.

Also for Corydon, Ryan Crawford and Tommy Wiseman each carded a 79 and Steven Coleman had an 82.

Columbus North’s Christian Fairbanks won medalist honors with a 3-under 69. Perry Meridian’s Nick Osterburg was the first individual state berth for a non-advancing team with an even-par 72.

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