Area golfers look to extend post-season play

BY JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

As the day get hotter, the pool of area teams still in the midsts of postseason action gets smaller. As we turn our attention to the golf course for regional action, which starts today, now is as good a time as any to check in with a couple of the area golf teams that are still in the hunt for postseason glory. 

Jasper’s Bryan Hagan teed off at the Jasper Wildcat Invitational at Sultan’s Run Golf Course in Jasper earlier this season. (Herald file photo)

Jasper Wildcats

Sectional Result: 1st of 10 with a 312 overall team score at Sultan’s Run.

Notable: Jasper coach Caleb Begle said that his players have raised their games at just the right time, as the Wildcats posted some of their best performances last weekend during sectional play. Jasper had three kids shoot under 80 strokes during the match and the team is seeing a boost in their confidence to match their improved short games. 

The Wildcats used yesterday to get in a practice round at the Champions Pointe Golf Club in Hennryville in order to get used to the playing conditions they will face in the single round match on Thursday morning. Begle wants the boys to focus on their ball placement along the fairways to keep balls out of the rough, which can quickly add strokes to the scorecards. 

Begle also wants his boys to relax and enjoy themselves as they prepare for a rise in their competition. Begle does not take the opportunity to advance and keep playing golf lightly, but he doesn’t want to weigh down the team and have them playing tight behind inflated expectations. The boys all can learn something and perhaps surprise themselves with this next round of play. It’s simply a matter of trusting the technique and approach that got them to regionals and believing in their teammates to become one of the top three teams to advance to state.

Jasper’s team includes sophomores Patrick Harmon and Avery Hollinden, junior Jack Bies and seniors Bryan Hagan and Evan Wolfe.

Quotable: “It’s a fun experience to be around such good kids that work hard and have good attitudes,” said Begle. “They’re a fun group to be around, so we hope to keep playing as long as we can.”

Southridge sophomore Coby Reller is competing at the regionals today. (Herald file photo)

Southridge Raiders

Sectional Result: 7th of 10 with a 391 overall team score at Sultan’s Run.

Notable: The season came a conclusion for Southridge as a team at sectional, but sophomore Coby Reller finished with an individual score of 87, which tied with Loogootee’s Max Christmas and Paoli’s Jordan Clark for a sudden-death playoff to determine which individual would move on to regionals. Reller won the first hole and punched his ticket to the regional round.

Coach Brock Matthews said that Reller’s ball striking has really taken off in the positive direction since the Jasper Invite, and Reller has also had more consistent luck in finding the green and knocking in putts that he struggled with early on in the season. Reller will not only be facing the course, but also the added factor of playing as an individual, which Matthews believes will be a mental test for the young man unlike anything he has faced during the season.

But Matthews has faith that Reller can take on the course and its challengers. He isn’t heaping a lot of expectations on Reller to shoot for a certain score anything like that; he wants him to aim for the center of the green and just play smart golf. If Reller is able to keep himself out of bad positions and keep putts to a minimum when he reaches the green, perhaps the other golfers could be in store for a surprise from Huntingburg when the final flag is knocked over. 

Quotable: “Being a sophomore and getting here is a great accomplishment,” said Matthews. “There’s a lot of good golfers he could watch and learn some things from. He’ll get a feel for what it takes to play at the highest level.”

 

Editor’s note: Heritage Hills, who is competing at the regionals as a team, could not be reached for this story. The Patriots team includes sophomore Rylan Cox and juniors Josh Nelson, Carter Cox, Mitch Balsdel and Carson Leibering.




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