CARMEL — One could count on one hand the number of golfers to shoot even-par 72 or better during Tuesday’s first round of the IHSAA State Finals at Prairie View Golf Club.
Carmel’s Nick Dentino was among those five and tied atop the individual leaderboard with a 2-under 70 to pace the defending champion Greyhounds into the lead with a collective 11-over 299 — four shots ahead of Center Grove, six in front of Noblesville and 12 ahead of Floyd Central. The Highlanders left the course pretty pleased with their score, and standing, heading into today's final round.
“We played solid," Floyd Central coach Brett Eades said. "The guys fought very hard. This is a very difficult golf course, but they rose to the challenge today. We started out extremely well, ran into some bumps along the way but recovered.”
Sophomore Christian McIntosh shot 76 to lead the Highlanders. Floyd’s No. 1 player was sitting at 1-over going into the 17th hole, where he had his first issue off the tee on his way to a triple bogey.
“I had a bad drive on 17, it cost me. It was rough, but I had to deal with it," McIntosh said. "I was in the fairways until 17. I got into the heather and had to grind it in from there.”
McIntosh, who tied for 21st on the day, saved par on every other hole on the back nine after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 helped him to a 37 on the front.
The Highlanders were a collective 6-over on the front.
Senior Harrison Eades and sophomore Judson Dukes are tied for 33rd with their 6-over rounds of 78.
Eades hit a 35-footer for birdie on the par-4 fifth hole.
“I was feeling good about my game,” Harrison Eades said. “I was putting really well too. I only had 12 putts on the front nine. I was rolling the rock really well. Normally, if my putting’s going I’ll be going as well. But I struggled to make par on the back nine. It wasn’t as good.”
Dukes shot 40 on the back nine, thanks to a solid stretch of play that included a birdie on the par-3 12th and a 15-foot par-saving putt on No. 15.
“Jud made a great 3 on 15. He stepped up. Great round for a sophomore [his] first time around,” Brett Eades said.
Reece Compton, the Highlanders’ No. 2 player, hit a rough stretch on the back nine after posting a 38 on the front. The junior was even-par through seven holes, but bogeyed five of his next six. He was dealing with some sickness, coach Eades said.
“I'm really, really proud of him. He had a tough go of it here last year. He was itching to get back here and show he could take on the golf course. He was a little under the weather,” Eades said.
Compton’s shot of the day was a 140-yard approach to within 2 feet of the hole for a tap-in birdie on No. 17.
Overall, the Highlanders have a shot at reaching their goal of making the podium, which includes the top four teams.
“I’m happy but not satisfied," Brett Eades said. "We’ve got to come out and repeat the performance, or improve on it, to meet our goal this year."
McIntosh said he likes his team’s mindset heading into Wednesday's second round.
“We can only control what we do. We’ll try our best and see where it puts us,” said McIntosh, who will be the final Highlander to tee off at 9:48 a.m.