CARMEL – The Homestead girls golf team came oh-so close to a third-place finish in the state golf tournament Saturday, yet Spartans coach Jeff Jehl couldn't be disappointed as the fourth-place finish is the best for girls golf in the school's history.
“Fourth gets us to the podium,” said Jehl, whose team just missed with fifth-place finishes the previous two seasons. “We knew we could mix it up with the top two or three, but Carmel, Zionsville, Evansville North are outstanding golf teams. Being one shot out of third that's a ball that bounces out of bounds, that's a ball the lips out the cup. It was close. But we're proud with a fourth-place finish.”
The Spartans, who were sitting in third with a two-shot lead over Carmel entering the second round, finished with a 634 total at Prairie View Golf Club. Evansville North captured the title with a 605 total, followed by defending champion Zionsville with 612 and Carmel with 633.
Bishop Luers junior Madeleine Pape finished in a tie for second with Evansville North's Katelyn Skinner at 5-over 149 total. Westfield junior Jocelyn Bruch won with a 143 total (68-75).
Pape shot 73 Friday and a 76 Saturday.
“I had a really tough start, so definitely bringing myself together on the back nine, starting to hit greens was really key for me,” she said of the second round. “I wanted to win but, obviously, came up a little short. But I wanted to finish top 10, for sure.”
Pape shot 42 on front nine Saturday then finished strong with a 34.
“That girl was unbelievably mentally tough and strong,” Luers coach Mike Harris said. “On the back nine, she shot 2 under. She just played tremendously, I am so proud of her. She just hit a couple bad holes on the front, but they were bad enough to cause her a problem. But to stay that focused when she played with the eventual winner and the crowd around her and all the expectations, and to come back and shoot 34 on what I think is the toughest nine, was unbelievable.”
Freshman Madison Dabagia was low for Homestead with a 150, finishing tied for fourth.
“I'm pleased and I think the team is, too,” Dabagia said. “I think all of us really pushed through, even when we had a bad hole or two, we came back with good ones.”
Freshman Simone Senk was second for the Spartans with a 160. Homestead juniors Carrine Kogulan (83 Friday) and Rylie Parker (81) combined for a 164 total. Dabagia's sister, Morgan, a junior, was fourth on the team with 169. Senior Sydney Rybolt finished with a 173. Rybolt opened with an 80, but fell off with a 93. The top four scores are counted.
“My first round was solid, but the emotions got to me (Saturday) and I just tried to do the best that I could,” Rybolt said. “We thought we were going to get third, but we're really happy with fourth. Placing is an amazing feeling.”
Jehl said consistent rounds are tough at Prairie View.
“Out here consistency is something very hard to come by because this is a very penal golf course, a small miss out can put you in a sand trap, put you in a place where a double or triple (bogey) comes into play,” Jehl said. “Seemingly everyone had a bad hole or rough patch, but these girls bounced back and finished strong.”
Jehl said the team will miss Rybolt's leadership.
“She's our heartbeat, she's a tough kid,” Jehl said. “She is someone the girls look up to, but six girls played in the state finals and we return five of those girls. So we're really looking forward to next year.”