Cats, Raiders learning in variety of ways

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Jasper's Landon Kissel, left, and Jack Bies watch Southridge's Coby Reller's putt during Wednesday's match at Buffalo Trace Golf Course in Jasper. Bies had the lowest score in the match with a 36 while Reller led the Raiders with a 44. Both the Wildcats and Raiders are still learning lessons about their play but they also learned some valuable lessons while watching Tiger Woods win the Masters this past Sunday. For more photos from the match, click here.


JASPER — The sport of golf had the attention of the United States this past weekend as Tiger Woods was on everyone’s television sets.

While Woods’ was donning the historic green jacket for the fifth time after winning his first Masters title since 2005, it’s safe to say that the younger golfers at home were watching his every move throughout the tournament.

What did they want to do after seeing him celebrate on the 18th hole? Get on the links themselves.

“Our whole team after watching that just wanted to go out and play — unfortunately, it was too late in the day,” said Jasper senior Jack Bies with a laugh. Bies was the match medalist with a low score of 36 as the Cats defeated county rival Southridge 168-188. “Knowing what he’s been through, for anyone who loves golf and wants to go far with it that should just be motivation.”

Southridge head coach Brock Matthews can recall watching Tiger progress through the ups and downs during his career and was definitely filled with joy after seeing him win the Masters on Sunday.

But there’s something that Matthews hopes his team saw the most when watching Tiger’s victory — stay steady when things aren’t going your way.

“We’ve all had bad rounds, we had some guys who had bad rounds tonight and they let it get to them too much,” Matthews said. “You have to learn to put the past behind you and work on what’s in front of you.”

As far as the team scores go, Bies paced Jasper with a team-best 36. Avery Hollinden shot a 39, Landon Kissel fired a 43, Luke Ackerman totaled a 50, Nick Buechlein shot a 58 and Jordan Krempp finished with a 59.

For Southridge, Coby Reller had the lowest score on the team with a 44. Rounding out the Raiders’ scoring was Michael Kappner (45), Tristan Boerner (48), Carson Mundy (51), Aidan Blessinger (55) and Christian Geesaman (65).

The Cats and Raiders battled the front nine of Buffalo Trace Golf Course on Wednesday evening and had to deal with a mix of intense wind conditions as well as some wet spots on the course at different parts.

“The wind was obviously a factor because that plays a factor into your distance and shot shaping for sure,” Bies said. “The wetness from the rain impacts the fairways and the greens as well — it can be inconsistent at times and it’s hard to judge that.”

With both teams having their fair share of new players on their respective rosters, both coaches are aware that when conditions on the course aren’t the greatest then the scores might not be either.

The Jasper Wildcats warmed up in the practice area before Wednesday's match at Buffalo Trace Golf Course in Jasper. For more photos from the match, click here.

“Even in the best conditions, golf isn’t the easiest game to play so you add in the wind and wetness and it can make it difficult,” Jasper head coach Caleb Begle said. “If you can play in the wind, then you can play in the still conditions too — it’s a good learning experience.”

Matthews added: “We have a lack of experience on different courses, our guys mainly play on our home course (Huntingburg Country Club). We’re still learning how to deal with trouble that they’re not accustomed to.”

As we’ve entered the halfway point of the season, most of the golfers have started to figure out they’re biggest strengths this season and also what they need to work on the most.

For Bies, his biggest strength has been his consistent play with the short game.

“It’s been the best part of my game, chipping especially,” Bies said. “In general, it’s allowed me to shoot better scores.”

Reller, who shot a team-best score of 44 for the Raiders, says putting has at times been his biggest strength but more recently it’s become one of his weaknesses.

“My putting has just been so bad lately and it’s starting to put a hurting on my score,” Reller said. “The first few matches I couldn’t miss my putts and I was hitting everything but now I’ve been three-putting and it’s been really hurting me.”

While the sectional is still over a month away, the boys’ golf season is moving rather quickly and teams are finding out how they should fair the remainder of the season.

Both teams have their respective goals but mostly they are hoping to see continued improvement from now until the postseason.

“We’ve been continuing to lower our average and that’s been a combination of different things,” Matthews said. “We’ve stayed away from penalty strokes, now it’s just a matter of getting better at scoring and hitting the ball decent.”

Begle added: “We’ve had a lot of nine-hole matches and right after, guys are going back out to practice. That stuff is good to see, we all understand we need to continue to get better and these guys are willing to try and do that.”

More on