LEBANON —With three of the state’s top eight ranked teams teeing off Monday in the Zionsville boys golf sectional, the action at the Golf Club of Indiana figured to be tight.
And it was.
Defending state champion and second-ranked Westfield led the way with 298, while third-ranked Carmel and eighth-ranked Zionsville followed close behind with 302 and 305, respectively.
“I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say it’s the toughest sectional and regional in the state,” Carmel coach Chard Reid said.
All three teams advance to Thursday’s regional at Battle Ground Golf Club in Lafayette, in what figures to be another dogfight.
“There’s some great teams in the regional: Harrison, Crown Point and Chesterton, in addition to Westfield, Zionsville and us. You’ve got six really strong teams up there that typically fight for three spots.”
On Monday, a crosswind wind from the west picked up throughout the day, adding to the challenges the golfers faced on the 6,750-yard course. They dealt with water hazards such as ponds and creeks, and had to navigate steep bunkers and large, hilly greens with puts up to 100 feet.
Carmel’s Kevin Stone, an Ohio State recruit, paced the golfers with a two-under-70, edging out Westfield’s Thomas Lewis (71), a Purdue recruit.
Westfield coach John Hoover echoed Reid’s sentiment that their sectional is the toughest, and that it feeds into the toughest regional. He said another 298 like Monday may be good enough to advance to state, but not enough to win the regional outright.
The goal Hoover set for his team on Thursday is to break 290 (the team carded a 286 at the Muncie Central Invitational on May 21). Westfield is seeking its third state title in four years.
“These guys are all seasoned tournament players,” Hoover said. “It’s just consistency. You know, 18 holes, five hours of golf, you can’t panic. These guys got off to a very poor start today but stayed with it.”
Last year, Carmel finished three strokes behind third-place Harrison, and 11 strokes behind regional champion Westfield at Battle Ground and failed to reach the state final. Carmel returned to Battle Ground May 28 and exorcised some demons, shooting a 304 in the Lafayette Jeff Invite. That performance provides the Greyhounds with a boost of confidence heading into Thursday’s regional.
“As a team we managed that course a lot better (on May 28). We hit much smarter shots than we hit at the regional,” Stone said. “I know looking back, we all played some of our worst rounds at the regional. … It was really the kind of shots that we hit. This time around we were much more focused and grooved in as a team to hit those tough shots and make putts.”
Guerin Catholic’s Scott Small (80) and Brebeuf Jesuit’s Nick Frey (75) and Jack Miller (77) moved on to regionals as individuals.
Other sectional action:
- Noblesville held off Hamilton Southeastern by one stroke to claim the sectional title Monday at Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville. Clay Merchent led the way for the No. 5-ranked Millers, capturing medalist honors with a 71. No. 7 HSE and Fishers also advanced to Friday’s regional at the Player’s Club in Muncie.
Team Scores: Noblesville 301, Hamilton Southeastern 302, Fishers 318, Pendleton Heights 346, Hamilton Heights 352, Lapel 376, Frankton 400, Anderson 428, Alexandria 495.
Top individual scores: Clay Merchent (Noblesville) 71, Nick Kuster (HSE) 73, Cedric McAree (HSE) 74, Noah Chamberlin (Fishers) 76, Drew Alexander (HSE) 76, Parker Deakyne (Noblesville) 76.
Advancing without a team: Kellen Woods (Tipton) 78, Curtis Patterson (Pendleton Heights) 80, Jesse Reed (Hamilton Heights) 80.
- Mt. Vernon, New Castle and Shelbyville all advanced from the Greenfield-Central sectional at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield on Monday. The Marauders, who won its first boys golf sectional since 2004-05, were led by Oliver Mast’s 73.
Team Scores: Mt. Vernon 313, New Castle 315, Shelbyville 335, New Palestine 346, Greenfield-Central 369, Shenandoah 370, Triton Central 381, Blue River Valley 386, Eastern Hancock 400, Morristown 422.
Top individual scores: Oliver Mast (Mount Vernon) 73, Blake Wheeler (New Castle) 76, Xavier Dunham (Mount Vernon) 76, Shawn Ewing (Shelbyville) 78.
Advancing without a team: Blake Barnett (New Palestine) 80, Clayton Long (Greenfield-Central) 82, Noah Mohler (Greenfield-Central) 85.
- Brownsburg won its first boys golf sectional since 2004-05 on a fifth tiebreaker Monday at Foxcliff Golf Course in Martinsville to edge out Mooresville after both teams finished with a score of 312. The 19th-ranked Bulldogs were led by Luke Kelly’s 74 and Landon Mundell’s 75. Plainfield will join the Bulldogs and Pioneers in Thursday’s regional. Quakers were led by Jacob Brejcha, who fired a 73.
Team Scores: Brownsburg 312, Mooresville 312, Plainfield 318, Avon 329, Cascade 354, Martinsville 357, Tri-West 378, Cloverdale 380, Danville 387, Owen Valley 424, Monrovia 436.
Top individual: Jacob Brejcha (Plainfield) 73, Jack Speedy (Mooresville) 74, Matthew Chapman (Mooresville) 74, Jackson Franchville (Cascade) 74, Luke Kelly (Brownsburg) 74, Landon Mundell (Brownsburg) 75.
Advancing Teams: Brownsburg, Mooresville, Plainfield.
Advancing without a team: Jackson Franchville (Cascade) 74, Garrett Compliment (Cascade) 78, Cameron Klein (Avon) 80.