When: Today and Wednesday
Where: Prairie View Golf Club, Carmel
Area team: Bishop Dwenger
Area individuals: Stephen Bolan, Bishop Luers; Bradan Kattman, Homestead; Garrett Willis, Homestead
Bishop Dwenger will be the lone northeast Indiana team at the boys golf state finals today and Wednesday at Prairie View in Carmel.
The Saints lead the state with the longest active streak with seven straight state championship appearances. That kind of longevity has been possible by senior leadership, such as No. 1 player Luke Miller and No. 2 Logan Ryan.
“The two seniors have been phenomenal for four years. Their leadership is hard to explain,” coach Dave Scudder said. “Luke's struggled through the year. He's had a bad back for two or three years, and he's played through that pain. The fact that he keeps most of us together is good. He's very vocal.
“Logan's golf is unreal. I've never seen a bad score that he's posted this year. He's probably under par all but two rounds all year. He shot 65 at Chestnut Hills (in the regular season) and he was 73, 2-over, at regional but he was under par (a 2-under 70) at sectional (at Chestnut Hills). He was even par in one nine-hole match.”
Both players took up the sport from their grandfathers and fathers and have siblings who play the game.
“My grandpa was a pro here in the city for 42 years, my dad played at IU and my uncle played at Wisconsin, so it's kind of been in the family,” Miller said. “Golf is a different sport. You can't have someone from the outside, who hasn't played to fully understand what's going on. They know that in the good times, things are going well and they know the feeling. And they know in the bad times, it's worse and they know how to pick it up.”
Ryan gave up football after his sophomore year to focus on golf full time.
Sycamore Hills is his home course, and its constant and consistent difficulty has made courses like Prairie View a little less daunting.
“Sycamore, any single shots, you can make a double (bogey) really easily,” he said. “Because Sycamore is so tough, when you go to any other course like Prairie View, it makes it seem a little bit easier. You can feel like you can attack more pins.”
Miller and Ryan and No. 5 Ariel DeLuna, a sophomore, played in last year's state finals, where the Saints finished 10th with a two-round total 623 (321 and 302).
Miller finished tied for 27th with an 8-over 152 (77-75) and Ryan was 60th with a 159 (83-76).
The team knows it can do better as it finished third in the State Preview tournament at Prairie View with a 299, eight strokes behind Carmel and three behind Zionsville.
“I think the state preview helped a lot,” Ryan said. “Especially for the younger guys to get out on the course and play a competitive round where they're actually forced to make real decisions. It's huge for those guys to have that experience at that course.
“In terms of talent, no we're probably not the most talented team going down to state but just as a team as a whole, we've been the ones posting the best scores. I think we have a really good chance if we can get off to a hot start and making some birdies we have a chance of placing high.”