Iffy rumblings don’t change approach

Matthew Busch/The Herald
Jasper senior Will Seger followed his chip shot onto the green Thursday at Christmas Lake Golf Course, where the 14th-ranked Wildcats (149) bested Southridge (158), Perry Central (199) and Forest Park (202). The Wildcats, Raiders and Rangers will all be back at Christmas Lake on Saturday for conference meets, as Jasper will shoot to defend its Big Eight crown and the Raiders and Rangers will battle in the Pocket Athletic Conference meet. For a gallery of photos, click here.

Herald Sports Writer

SANTA CLAUS — Move on. Concentrate on the next shot.


The mantra is easier said than done on the greens, but area golfers were simply appreciative of the opportunity to do so Thursday evening at Christmas Lake Golf Course.

The forecast called for scattered rain, and although a few showers passed by earlier in the afternoon, conditions allowed for No. 14 Jasper (149) to triumph in a quadrangular meet that also featured Southridge (158), Perry Central (199) and Forest Park (202).

Despite the iffy weather, no one spent the day waffling.

“In my mind, I’m always thinking we’re going to play and if we don’t play, it’s kind of a disappointment,” said Jasper’s Will Seger, who fired a 37.

“I don’t mind playing in the rain at all because I always keep a positive attitude toward it and everyone else kind of gets down, so I feel like it’s more of an advantage.”

Cam Weyer guided Jasper with a medalist round of 35, as Jacob Bartley (38) and Dru Hein (39) also contributed to the Wildcats’ score. Also for Jasper, Erich Hopf shot a 47 and Jackson Land added a 53.

Rain and thunderstorms wiped out the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday, continuing a seemingly seasonlong trend for the Wildcats, Seger said. Usually, the weekends find them playing on wet courses, if at all, while weekday matches allow opportunities to play in drier conditions. Jasper battled Springs Valley earlier in the week at French Lick, while Southridge completed its second outing at Christmas Lake this week; Heritage Hills nipped the Raiders by three strokes three days ago. Likewise, the Raiders were happy to get in another round, leading up to the Pocket Athletic Conference meet, which will take place Saturday at Christmas Lake.

Matthew Busch/The Herald
Southridge’s Tyler Gray placed his ball on the green to line up his shot during Thursday’s match at Christmas Lake Golf Course in Santa Claus. The junior fired a 37 to lead the Raiders, who finished second in the quadrangular meet behind Jasper.

“Like Will said, it’s disappointing when we don’t play,” said Southridge’s Tyler Gray, who led the Raiders with a 37. “I always want to play, so it’s finally nice to have a full week of being able to play.

“Other than off the tee, I hit it pretty well, so just have to build on that.”

Also for the Raiders, Beau Schneider and Ian Mathies each carded a 40, Cleat Winkler finished with a 41, Trey Reese registered a 50 and Corbin Neu shot a 55.

Winkler, the team’s No. 5 golfer, contributed a top-four score. This was noteworthy for Southridge coach Brock Matthews, even more so since it’s the second time this week the Raiders have received additional help; Neu, the No. 6 man, produced a 43 against Heritage Hills three days ago.

“That’s positive that we’re not just using the same four all year,” Matthews said.

Both Seger and Gray finished their rounds by showcasing traits Forest Park coach Chris Tretter is trying to instill in the Rangers.

On No. 9, Seger faced about a 100-yard approach to the pin. His fairway shot landed within 10 feet of the hole, allowing for a downhill birdie putt, which he sank. Gray’s drive, however, wandered off to the left of the fairway. But his shot from the rough landed near the green, allowing him to save par and also garner compliments from spectators.

Gray offered a one-word response in explaining his shot from the rough: “luck.” His coach disagreed.

“He says ”˜luck,’ but there’s more to it than just luck,” Matthews said. “When he gets in bad spots, you’ve just got to play and practice and eventually get better and you hit bad shots you’re able to recover. … You don’t see a lot of high scores coming from him.”

That’s the approach Tretter wants to see in the Rangers, who he said started well but, at times, lost focus after struggling through a few holes. Drew Weyer and Justin Sitzman each fired a 49 for the low scores for Forest Park, while Winston Glenn’s 51 and Alex Russell’s 53 rounded out the Rangers’ scoring. Addison Weyer (56) and Travis Nord (62) also completed rounds for Forest Park, which sloshed through a water-soaked invitational at Corydon Central on April 27. Golf is a difficult enough sport to play in nice conditions, Tretter said, let alone in undesirable circumstances.  

“It’s a good opportunity, if you have your right focus, to come out and shoot a good score,” Tretter said, looking around hole No. 9 and noting the 70-degree weather and clear skies. “So hopefully, you have the right mindset coming in.”

Glenn, the Rangers’ No. 1 golfer, completed one of his highest rounds of the year but began the day just 1-over through the first two holes. That was encouraging, Tretter said, as was Glenn’s finish. His approach to the right side of the green landed within 10 feet, and he ended his day by sinking the manageable putt. Not great, but good, and enough to prompt Tretter to remark it doesn’t take much to get him and the team excited for their next match to build upon any momentum created Thursday.

“Several of them jumped out to a good start, so you build that momentum,” Tretter said. “As we talked about, you hit a rough stretch — well, you have to quickly put that behind you and if you’re going to think about something in the past, think about the good holes that you had before that instead of the bad ones. So (I) definitely was pleased with the start that they had.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.

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