Foes’ special scores repel proud Cats

Photos by Matthew Busch/The Herald
Jasper’s Will Seger, back right, shook hands with Bobby Bauer, the grandfather of teammate Dru Hein, after Wednesday’s last round of the state finals at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Hein, left, Reid Lorey and Jacob Bartley are also pictured at the table. Seger sizzled to a 67 Wednesday and shot a two-day total of 138 to finish third individually. The Wildcats were fourth as a team despite trimming 24 strokes from their third-place finish a year ago. For a gallery of more photos, click here.

By JOE JASINSKI
Herald Sports Writer

FRANKLIN — Dru Hein and Will Seger had waited four years for this.

Senior year. State finals. In contention.

What if Jasper’s two senior golfers had been given a choice?

Your team will finish just four strokes higher than the 36-hole state finals record set by Avon in 2009. And your team’s score will be 20 strokes better than Evansville Harrison’s when it won the title last spring.

“If you told me we’d shoot (that),” Hein said, “I would have said that we win it.”

On cue, Seger: “If you were to have said we shot (that) at the start of the tournament, I would have taken that. I would have thought we would have won.”

Needless to say, the offer remained theoretical. And the scores at the boys golf state finals this year were anything but predictable. They were special.

They were “unthinkable,” Seger said.

“Ridiculous,” Hein termed the figures.

With a two-day score of 591, Jasper finished fourth in the 15-team field at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Fourth-ranked Westfield (575) nudged past No. 1 Columbus North (577) to claim the title and shatter the former 36-hole record by 12 strokes. Third-ranked Floyd Central (580) grabbed third place, followed by the Wildcats, Noblesville (592) and seventh-ranked Avon (594).

Seger’s assessment of the gaudy numbers fluctuated — undoubtedly great, incompletely satisfying.

“The scores (were) just low,” Seger said. “I don’t think there’s anything that we can change that we didn’t do. We’re going to look back at this as two of the greatest scores Jasper’s shot in the state finals. I think everyone’s proud of that but everyone also knows we had our goal, and we didn’t meet it. But everyone tried their best and played their hearts out.”

Southridge junior Tyler Gray fired a 72 after collecting a 76 on Tuesday, finishing 31st among the 100 golfers competing. The junior notched a triple bogey in each of his rounds, but rallied for six birdies.

“I’m exhausted,” said Gray as he stood in the 90-degree heat following his second round. “There’s a lot of good people out here, a lot of big names.

“It was a good experience.”

Jasper sophomore Reid Lorey, who carded a 78 in the final round, tracked his shot from the fairway.

After concluding Tuesday’s round five shots behind the leader, Jasper made the turn on Wednesday just 1-over as a team, with Hein and Seger each posting 35s on the front nine.

“That really kind of excited me,” Seger said. “To me that was, ”˜We can make a run. We can do this.’”

Unfortunately for Jasper, Seger was the only Wildcat to shoot a lower back-nine total. Hein finished with a 73 for the second round and 148 for the 36 holes, Cam Weyer rode a second-round 78 to collar a 148, Jacob Bartley snagged a 82 Wednesday to finish at 157 and Reid Lorey shaved four strokes off Tuesday’s score to register a 78 and 160 total.

Seger’s final nine were impressive.

The senior birdied holes 10 and 11 and fastened another pair of birdies on the 14th and the par-5 15th, on which he nearly reached the green in two shots. From there, Seger mustered up-and-downs on 16 and 18 to secure a back-nine 32, a second-round 67 and two-day total of 138, earning him all-state honors and a tie for third among individuals, two shots behind Zionsville junior and Duke University recruit Adam Wood (136).

Seger’s third-place result and final tally of 138 both represent the best marks by a Wildcat golfer in program history at the state finals.

“It’s just great the way it turned out to be for him,” Jasper coach Steve Milligan said.

Hein, meanwhile, wrapped a three-week streak of tournament consistency. After logging 72s at both sectional and regional, the senior finished just 4-over at Franklin.

“It showed how much he really wanted it. It showed how much he cared for these guys and what this senior year really meant to him,” Seger said of his classmate. “I can’t be any prouder of him.”

Added Milligan: “You just found out what kind of player he was. He was a player.”

For Hein, the steadiness developed from his tempered psyche.

Gone are the days of his freshman season when he admitted to having unruly nerves before tournament rounds. This time, Hein was simply relishing the ride.

“My whole philosophy was, this is the last time I’m going to get to play in this tournament. I’m never going to see it again. I was just having fun. I happened to play well just because I was relaxed, I was enjoying myself and I was taking it all in,” Hein said. “Because you never really appreciate it until you realize it’s almost gone. I spent the last four tournaments, I was just enjoying myself and reflecting on high school golf. Just trying to make some sort of last run because I’m never going to be back here again.”

That sense of appreciation was tangible, it seemed, among all the Wildcats. The trip to The Legends was the program’s 16th appearance at the state finals. For Seger and Hein, it was their fourth trip in as many years. Jasper had made four consecutive trips to the state finals only once before, from 1994 to ’97.

“This is so much fun being up here,” Milligan said. “These kids are very special. And they all know, every day I tell them, that this is just a great feeling to be here.”

Hein sat in a golf cart beyond the main scoreboard and reflected on his four seasons with Seger. For the senior duo, whom their coached lauded not only for on-course success but for helping to revitalize the team’s work ethic, their impact is apparent.

“Me and Will, throughout this program through the years, we changed the program,” Hein said. “We managed to do something that even Steve said, he’s never seen anything like it. We accomplished a lot more than what it looks like and a lot more than we appreciate now.”

For Milligan, talking about the end of the seniors’ careers brought perspective on what had been fulfilled and what still remains for the Wildcats, who will be anchored by a new duo next year.

“I’m going to miss Will and Dru so much,” Milligan said, choking up momentarily. “They’ve meant so much to me the past four years. And now my leaders are Cam and Jacob. They’re going to be my two leaders. My two new leaders. But Will and Dru mean so much to the program and they’ve always been my two main guys. We will miss them very much and now we’ve got to rebuild to get back up here next year.”

Contact Joe Jasinski at jjasinski@dcherald.com.




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