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May 31, 2013

BOYS' GOLF: No. 3 Highlanders enter Monday’s Providence Sectional on a roll

Floyd Central favored to keep sectional-title streak alive at Covered Bridge

SELLERSBURG — The Floyd Central boys’ golf team has picked the perfect time to be playing its best golf of the season.

The third-ranked Highlanders have won their last two 18-hole tournaments and finished in the top two spots in their last three 18-hole events. That late-season surge has given Floyd Central lots of momentum entering Monday’s Providence Sectional at Covered Bridge Golf Club. The Highlanders have won 10 consecutive sectional titles.

Floyd Central began its surge on May 11 by finishing second in the Sollman Invitational at The Trophy Club in Lebanon with a team score of 303. The Highlanders ended up five strokes behind top-ranked Columbus North.

On May 18 at Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour, Floyd Central easily defended its title in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament by winning the meet by 16 strokes over runner-up Bedford North Lawrence.

Then last weekend, the Highlanders won the Legends of Providence Invitational at Champions Pointe Golf Club in Memphis with a team score of 302. They avenged their defeat to the No. 1 Bull Dogs in the Sollman Invite by besting Columbus North by one stroke.

“The kids are playing better. They gained some confidence by beating Columbus North last weekend. It showed we can play with them,” Floyd Central coach Mike Cason said. “We’ve played really well the last three weeks. We’re feeling pretty good right now.”

Cason says the keys for his squad to walk away with another sectional championship are chipping and putting and not having any bad holes.

“As always, we’ve got to stay away from the big numbers,“ Cason said. “We cannot have any double or triple bogeys. When you get to the state level, the short game makes the difference.”

The host Pioneers are expected to give the Highlanders a run for their money on Monday.

Providence is seeking its first sectional title since 1998. The Pioneers are coming off a sixth-place finish in the Legends of Providence Invitational with a team score of 326.

Pioneers’ coach Ken Allender shares Cason’s sentiments as far as his players avoiding double and triple bogeys on Monday if they are to have a shot at the sectional crown.

“If we can stay away from the big numbers, it enhances our chances,” Allender said. “We have the potential to win the sectional, but we are going up against some good competition. It’s just going to come down to who plays the best on Monday.”

Cason expects Providence to bring its A game at sectional. He thinks the Pioneers and Mid-Southern Conference champion Corydon Central to be among the top three teams at sectional. The top three squads and top three individuals on non-advancing teams at sectional will advance to the Providence Regional on Thursday at Champions Pointe. The Highlanders, Pioneers and Panthers were the top three teams in last year’s sectional.

“I think they will give us the best competition,” Cason said about Providence. “Corydon and them are about even.”

Providence has proven this season that it can compete with the formidable Highlanders. The Pioneers won the Big Four Tournament on May 6 at Covered Bridge. They shot a 151 during the nine-hole tourney with four players firing scores in the 30s. Floyd Central finished second with a 162.

“I think that victory gave us some confidence that we can [defeat the Highlanders],” Allender said. “But what it comes down to is if [the Pioneers] want to be complacent after that win or if they want to work harder. It will come down to mental toughness on Monday.”

Other area teams competing in the Providence Sectional are New Albany, Jeffersonville, Silver Creek, Borden, Christian Academy, Clarksville and Eastern. The Bulldogs finished fourth in last year’s sectional as they were six shots out of third.

Local players expected to battle for the top three spots on non-advancing teams are New Albany senior Garrett Arnold, Clarksville senior Nick Cappola and Christian Academy senior Jayson Arrell. Arnold qualified for regional as an individual last year with an 81. Meanwhile, Cappola and Arrell each finished a stroke short of reaching regional as both carded an 82.

 

MADISON SECTIONAL

Three Clark County teams — Charlestown, Henryville and New Washington — have been moved from the Providence Sectional to the Madison Sectional this season. Those three teams will join fellow Clark County school Rock Creek Academy, which has participated in the Madison Sectional the past few years. The sectional will take place on Monday at Sunrise Golf Club in Madison.

Henryville coach Robin Embry says the host Cubs are the favorites to win the sectional, while Jennings County is expected to finish second.

Embry says Rising Sun and Scottsburg, which also switches from the Providence Sectional to the Madison Sectional this year, to be the top contenders for third place. But Embry believes there is a possibility that someone outside the projected top four will battle for third.

“You’ve got to play well to get into the top four and possibly the top three,” Embry said. “But it’s high school golf — anything can happen.”

 

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