Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Homestead's Ellis Yoder pitches from the bunker Wednesday at in Carmel, during the final round of the IHSAA State Finals.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Bishop Dwenger's Luke Miller pitches the ball on to the green at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel, as the gallery looks on from just feet away Wednesday.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Homestead's Cameron Cook pitches from the bunker on the 18th hole at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel on Wednesday.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Homestead's Austin Render reacts after missing a par putt in the final round of the IHSAA State Finals on Wednesday.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 8:00 pm
Area golfers ignore pressure, have fun
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
CARMEL – Formidable as the competitors and the course are at the IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals, the real opponent may be pressure. First-time participants stare down a field of players perhaps better than any they've seen before. And for those who have been here before, a year of mulling missed shots and treacherous greens can turn even routine 6-foot putts into testers.
After a shaky first day at Prairie View Golf Club, the golfers from northeast Indiana headed into Wednesday’s final round wanting to just forget about the pressure and have fun. It worked.
Bishop Dwenger’s Luke Miller, Homestead’s Austin Render and Canterbury’s Michael Brothers led the local contingent with two-day totals of 8 over that put them in a tie for 27th place among 100 players.
Center Grove's Noah Gillard was the medalist, shooting a final-round 66 to finish at 6 under and lead the Trojans to the championship with a record 3 under. The gallery watching area players saw good play, too: Bishop Dwenger improved by 19 strokes to finish in 10th place at 47 over, Homestead improved by six strokes to finish in 11th at 48 over and last-place Carroll improved by 14 strokes to finish at 82 over.
“We didn’t necessarily have a shot as a team (to win), but we wanted to go out and enjoy it as the last round of the year together. We wanted to go out and have fun today,” said Miller, a junior, whose round of 75 included an eagle on his 12th hole, the par-5 third. “The whole team played loose. We had played tight (in the first round) with four players new to being down at state. I think they played a lot tighter than we did today. We should have just gone out like this. Today, we all scored a lot better and I think that’s something we can learn for the future.”
Saints sophomore Jonathan Filler shot a 74 and tied for 35th at 9 over. Junion Logan Ryan had a 76 to finish tied for 60th at 15 over with teammate Ariel DeLuna, a freshman, who had a 77. Tyler Fink had a 78 to finish at 18 over.
“We weren’t so sure we would even get out of sectionals. To win our regional and go down to state, and to then do OK down here, it’s really good for the team,” Miller said. “I’m really proud of the guys and I think we’ll have some good stuff coming in future years.”
Render, a Homestead senior, had a final-round 76.
“The postseason was so much fun. I took the mentality to have fun. I think I had overcomplicated things this season a little bit with trying to do too much and putting too much pressure on myself,” he said. “In the postseason, I said, ‘Let’s just come out here and try to have fun, hit greens and two-putt.’ I did a lot of that this postseason and it was a lot of fun.”
Teammate Garrett Willis, a junior, shot a 75 to finish tied for 35th at 9 over. Senior Matthew Hope had a 79 to tie for 60th at 15 over. Senior Ellis Yoder had an 83 for 20 over. Senior Cameron Cook had a 79 for 26 over.
Carroll was paced by senior Caydon Yourdon, who had a 76 to tie for 72nd at 18 over, including an eagle on the par-5 16th with an odd 52-degree wedge shot from 110 yards.
“That definitely helped. I actually kind of chunked it and it landed on the fringe. By the time I pulled my club in and wiped my eyes of the dirt and everything, I heard this, ‘Whoa, it went in,’” Yourdon said.
Teammate Xavier Walden, a senior, shot an 81 to finish at 19 over. Senior Nick Ramsey had an 85 for 22 over. Senior Cam Boyce had an 80 for 23 over. And senior Caleb Waugh had a 94 for 42 over.
Brothers, a senior, had a 75. Norwell junior Jacob Collins shot a 75 to tie for 52nd at 13 over. Manchester freshman Harley Kruschwitz had an 81 for 17 over. Warsaw junior Sam Yeager's 84 put him at 23 over.