Patience, putting will be key in regional match

Herald FIle Photos
Jasper's Luke Ackerman chips the ball out of a hazard during last Friday's golf sectional at Sultan's Run Golf Club in Jasper. All of the local teams are well aware that one of the biggest keys to performing well at today's regional meet will be to putt well and connect on your chip shots. 

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

Writer’s note: Heritage Hills could not be reached for comment on this story.

We have turned the page to June and in doing so, we usher in another chapter of Indiana postseason tournament golf.

Today marks the start of IHSAA regional golf action and three area teams have the privilege of sending a small envoy of players to the Champions Pointe Golf Course in pursuit of making the cut for the state tournament. Jasper, Heritage Hills, and Forest Park’s Colin Lane played through Sultan’s Run in last week’s sectional to stamp their way to Henryville, and everyone will be leaning on the work they’ve put in throughout the spring to let them know what’s needed to make the next shot their best shot.

The Wildcats finished eighth overall at regional last season and Bryan Hagan narrowly missed qualifying for the state match as he shot a 74 on the day. Wildcats coach Caleb Begle said the focus has been on chipping and putting as shots out of the rough will play a huge part in the march towards the green.

“That was our emphasis as we played our practice round,” he said.

Rangers coach Chris Tretter sang the same tune as he worked with Lane to get him ready to face Champion’s Pointe for the first time since Forest Park made it to regional as a team two seasons ago.

“We chipped, we pitched, we putted,” added Tretter as he described what he and Lane worked on Tuesday evening at Sultan’s Run. “(We’re) really focusing on making sure that his stroke was pure. He feels good about how he prepared this week and I certainly thought he looked good and relaxed. I’m optimistic for him.”

“It’s been a lot of short game,” said Lane. “Making sure I can hit line on my puts because that’s where I can gain strokes back. Got to be good in the short game to shoot well.”

Course descriptions paint Champions Pointe as a more open course with less natural obstacles and more inviting fairways to the hole.

Some look at the course with wide eyes and smile at its potential for beautiful shots off the tee, but others interpret its spaces as a kind of illusion that could lull you to sleep and put golfers in difficult shot situations if they’re not careful.

“The course is in extremely good shape, very well maintained,” said Tretter. “There’s less trees, so you feel less confined. That plays to the favorability of all players that are there. The mindset of the course being open can help you mentally when playing on that type of course.”

“There’s places where you have to cover a bunker or cover the water, and it doesn’t seem like it’s that far,” countered Begle, as he noted how some of the course trappings can sneak up on you. “You think you’re in a good spot, then you got to get it over a bunker that (suddenly) makes it difficult. There’s just some holes that make you feel uncomfortable.”

Forest Park's Colin Lane will look to advance to the state tournament as an individual with a solid round at the Champions Pointe Golf Course this afternoon. 

While they may vary on their opinions of the course, both coaches agree that their players will be best served by exercising their patience on the course. It’s going to be a full day of action, so it’s best to settle in and think of the match as a marathon across 18 holes.

“The quicker (Colin) relaxes the better he’s going to be,” said Tretter. “Even Tiger Woods has butterflies on the first tee, that’s just the way it is. Once you get into the flow, and nerves settle down, the game will slow down.”

“It’s going to be difficult, there will be bad shots and bad holes,” said Begle. “But if they are able to stay patient, keep grinding out shots, and not get frustrated if things don’t go their way that’ll give us our best chance to play our best golf.”




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