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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Columbia City's Spencer McCammon came up a stroke short of reaching the state finals last season and hopes to rectify that this year.

Friday, May 11, 2018 1:00 am

Eagles' ace aiming high

Senior hopes to reach state after missing last year

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Columbia City senior Spencer McCammon entered last season with some big shoes to fill. The Eagles had lost two big pieces of back-to-back state finals appearances – 2015 state runner-up Spencer Klimek and Tyler Green. 

McCammon said he learned a lot by just following the two and watching how they handled themselves and has tried to emulate them.

“Last year, if I had a bad hole, I'd let my round go bad,” he said, “This year, I let it go and go on to the next hole.”

McCammon shot two rounds of 79 at Prairie View as a freshman and 75 and 88 as a sophomore to help the Eagles finish ninth both years. McCammon's junior season, though, ended with a 75 at Stonehenge in the Warsaw Regional. The two individuals who shot 74 advanced to state. He made the turn after shooting 35 and was doing well until the last two holes.

“He shot well in the sectional (76 at Rozella Ford); he goes on as an individual and that's probably an odd feeling, being there on your own,” coach Andrew Thompson said. “It's a little different dichotomy. He got to that regional, performed really well for 16 holes and had an opportunity.

“He had a couple bad breaks, a little delay and before he knew it, he was 4-over and missed state by two shots.”

As soon as the season ended, McCammon's top goal for his senior season was set – to qualify for state.

“(I worked on) a lot of my short game,” he said. “Getting better at short game because last year at regional, I had a lot of easy shots I could have made up to make it to state so that should help me this year.”

But first he hopes to secure the Northeast Eight championship. Columbia City is 6-0 heading into the regular-season finale next week against DeKalb. The conference tournament is May 19.

Once that is taken care of, he can focus on the sectional and hopefully the regional.

“I thought about the (regional) all summer and this whole season so far,” McCammon said. “So it's very motivating to get back there and make it to state this year.”

McCammon began playing golf in the sixth grade with his dad. In addition to golf, he played football and basketball growing up but golf eventually proved to be his sport.

“I like the patience you have to have and you're in nature all the time and you have to focus all the time,” he said. “It's not really a quick-paced game like other sports. You have to focus for two to four hours. I've just kind of learned over the years.”

The focus and patience has paid off so far this season. Despite not getting the numbers he wants, he is averaging 39.1 over nine holes and 77 in his two 18-hole events.

“We don't talk about (the regional) much but I think he wants to go back with a little redemption,” Thompson said. “He knows he missed out on an opportunity and I think he's back, ready to go. He's had some ups and down this year, but he's been our consistent No. 1 player.

“I think there was some frustration out of the gate this year, knowing where he wants to get come tournament time. The sluggish start got him a little mentally challenged, but he's bounced back nicely despite not hitting the ball the way he's liked.”

areichel@jg.net