FRANKLIN — The Floyd Central boys’ golf team’s first-round team score at the IHSAA State Finals on Tuesday at The Legends Golf Club did not measure up to its capabilities.
Still, the fifth-ranked Highlanders are in the thick of the race to capture their third state championship.
Floyd Central is currently tied for fourth place with No. 19 Indianapolis Cathedral after shooting a team score of 308 on Tuesday. The Highlanders enter today’s final round just five strokes behind first-place and top-ranked Columbus North.
The top nine teams and squads within 12 shots of first place made the cut for today’s final round.
“We are real happy to be only five shots behind. We’ll get ready for (today),” Floyd Central head coach Mike Cason said.
In a rare instance this season, the Highlanders did not have five players shoot in the 70s.
Only three Floyd Central players fired scores in the 70s. Junior Devin Jenkins recorded the Highlanders’ lowest score with a 2-over-par 74. Jenkins made two birdies and went up-and-down for par on 12 holes.
Fellow FC junior Daniel Shepard carded a 75, as his lone birdie was on the par-3 third hole. Highlander senior Austin Peckham shot a 79, while teammates Jay Holderman and Jack Sparrow had an 80 and 82, respectively.
Floyd Central appeared to be in contention for the lead during the first two-thirds of the first round.
The Highlanders were 7-over-par during the first 12 holes. But they struggled down the stretch as they were 13-over for the final six holes.
Like the rest of the field, the Floyd Central players had to battle an evil crosswind throughout the round. The wind affected scores mightily, as only six individual players shot under par and no team recorded a score of 300 or lower.
“The course played difficult and the wind made it difficult,” Cason said. “I told the kids all day, ‘Scores are going to be high — keep grinding, keep grinding.’”
It marks the fourth consecutive year the Highlanders have made the first-round cut at the state finals. They have placed fourth in the state finals in each of the past three seasons.
Providence did not advance as a team to today’s final round, as it finished in a tie for 16th place with No. 15 Zionsville. The Pioneers fired a team score of 324.
But two Providence players earned berths in the final round in junior Cory Cahalan and senior Bryce Very. The top nine individuals on non-advancing squads and players who were within four strokes of the first-round lead made the cut for the final round.
Cahalan led the Pioneers with a 1-over 73, as he is currently ninth overall. He hit 13 greens in regulation, making three birdies and 11 pars.
Cahalan’s 73 showed how much he has improved since last year’s opening round of the state finals when he fired an 85.
“I think it’s great for him,” Providence head coach Ken Allender said. “Last year, he shot an 85 so what a turnaround for him as he almost shot even-par and he made the second day. He just stayed steady and didn’t get in trouble.”
Very had an adventurous day at Legends as he recorded a 75. But the IUPUI recruit’s score was the seventh-lowest among individuals on non-advancing teams, good enough to qualify for the final round.
Very made three birdies, but had four bogeys and one double bogey. He also was involved in one of the strangest moments of the day when he hit a bird in mid-air on one of his approach shots.
“He had some funny things happen to him. It was just one of those days,” Allender said.
Also for Providence, Mitchell Allender shot an 83, Max Hupp recorded a 93 and Robert Waiz had a 96.
Coach Allender said the gusty winds had a big effect on the Pioneers’ scores.
“If you get it up in the air, the ball can run anywhere,” the Providence boss said. “When you get the ball in a crosswind, it can get away from you.”
In his first state finals appearance, Henryville senior Evan Embry ended his career with a 5-over 77, missing the cut by two shots. Despite knocking in four birdies, Embry had three bogeys and three double bogeys. The double bogeys occurred on the sixth, 11th and 18th holes.
“The three double bogeys were the difference. Just a few holes turned a 71 or 72 into a 77,” Henryville head coach Robin Embry said. “I think he was prepared and ready to go. He felt good and he felt comfortable. He played well other than those three holes.”
Coach Embry said Evan Embry has drawn interest from Oakland City University and Marian University about continuing his golf career. Plus Bellarmine watched the Hornet standout play on Tuesday.
“I’m pretty confident he will play at the next level,” Robin Embry said.
IHSAA STATE FINALS
at The Legends Golf Club, Franklin, par-72
(Top nine teams and teams within 12 strokes of the first-round lead advance to today’s final round. Top nine individuals on non-advancing teams or players within four shots of the overall leader qualify for the final round.)
Team scores — Columbus North 303, Brebeuf Jesuit 305, Warsaw 307, Floyd Central 308, Indianapolis Cathedral 308, Carmel 309, Jasper 311, Evansville Harrison 311, Penn 312, Fort Wayne Dwenger 313; missing the cut: Heritage Hills 316, Westfield 317, Noblesville 318, West Lafayette 321, Northridge 322, Zionsville 324, Providence 324, Martinsville 327, Valparaiso 329, Tipton 330, Mishawaka Marian 337.
Floyd Central — Shepard 75, Jenkins 74, Sparrow 82, Peckham 79, Holderman 80.
Providence — Very 75*, Cahalan 73*, Allender 83, Waiz 96, Hupp 93.
Henryville — Embry 77.
First-round leader — Meyer (Evansville Central) 69.
* — advanced to final round as an individual.
TODAY’S TEE TIMES
7:30 a.m. — Jay Holderman, Floyd Central
7:39 a.m. — Austin Peckham, Floyd Central; Bryce Very, Providence
7:48 a.m. — Jack Sparrow, Floyd Central
7:57 a.m. — Devin Jenkins, Floyd Central; Cory Cahalan, Providence
8:06 a.m. — Daniel Shepard, Floyd Central
Note: Very and Cahalan will start their rounds on the 10th hole.