Boys Golf Team Finishes Third At Eastbrook Invite

Posted on April 22, 2018 in Boy's Golf, Spring Sports

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com
High school golfers finally had a chance to emerge from their extended hibernation Saturday at the Eastbrook Invitational on the Arbor Trace course, and four county teams had reasons to rejoice.

Mississinewa with a veteran team and talented freshman golfer ran away from the 11-team field, finishing with a 325 total to finish 14 shots ahead of runner-up Blackford. Marion senior Luke Leffler shot a 6-over par 78 and won individual medalist honors after a one-hole playoff, although the rest of the Giants struggled.

Eastbrook coach Adali Diesler said his team shot much better than he expected. And while he had less to cheer about, Oak Hill coach Gerry Conway was thankful for the opportunity to compete outdoors.

A cool morning and early afternoon with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees, the 18-hole event still had a wintry feel it. Yet, Diesler said foul weather has been commonplace over the history of the invite which dates back at least two decades.

“This tournament’s always had something and there’s never been good weather,” Diesler said. “This is my sixth year and we’ve cancelled it twice and had to delay for frost a few times.

“There’s always been rain and even when it’s dry it’s been super windy,” he added. “It was very cold, but I think the boys were okay because when you’re moving it’s a lot better than just standing and watching.”

Ole Miss might not have been in mid-season form, but coach James Reed thought their score was very solid considering the conditions. Freshman Ty Corey, scion of a prominent local golf family, led the Indians with a 78 that was just two shots off the lead. Breyton Berryhill tied for fifth overall at 80.

“I knew we were going to be very good and I knew we would have some high expectations, which sometimes brings more pressure and sometimes can hurt your golf game,” Reed said. “These guys met the challenge and are figuring it out and getting smarter and more mature every time we go out and – it’s not even been good weather yet.

“I can’t wait for it to dry out and the ball starts rolling and guys can show just how good they are,” Reed added.

In his first high school 18-hole meet, Corey showed the potential that will make him one of the county’s top prep golfers. Corey had one bad hole with a double-bogey on No. 6 but immediately bounced back with an eagle-2 on the seventh hole when he drove to within 140 yards of the cup and his chip shot bounced and hit the flag.

“Last year, I was just waiting to get up here and I was ready,” Corey said. “And now, it’s finally here and I shot decent score today. Hopefully, as the year goes on I can improve my scores.”

While Reed said Corey has made a quick impact, the Indians’ veteran golfers will determine their success. No. 1 Josh Dakin was a regional qualifier last year and had the third score Saturday with an 81, and Bryce Luedtke rounded out the scoring with an 86.

“Ty absolutely helps us and he helps us a lot. He’s going to be absolutely one of the best players in this area,” Reed said. “But in order for him to play and have that mentality it comes from our seniors who have been doing this for a few years.”

Leffler won medalist honors while the Giants finished sixth out of 11 teams with a 360 total. The senior had just one birdie on the ninth hole and made seven straight pars to close out his round.

Lapel’s Logan McAtee matched Leffler’s 76 and the two golfers returned to the course to settle the deadlock. McAtee ran into trouble immediately when his drive on No. 1 was short and landed behind trees, then his next shot flew over the green and he ended up with a double-bogey.

“I hit it (drive) pretty solid and gave myself at least a good look at an up-and-down,” Leffler said. “But it didn’t go that way and I bogeyed, but I won so it doesn’t matter.

“It was definitely chilly out there, but I’m happy with it,” he added. “There’s a lot more I left on the course.”

Marion also had Seth Beal with an 85, Connor Moritz with a 91 and Ethan Maki with a 108 while discarding Donte Whitton’s 111. Two of the Giants’ varsity regulars, Caleb Oliver and Amonte King, had other school commitments and missed the meet.

“That was good for our No. 4 and 5 guys (Whitton and Maki) to get out and play and get in 18 holes,” Marion coach Jerry Freshwater said. “We played with what we had, and our No. 2 and 3 guys said they left some putts out there. … But you can’t ask for anything better than what they did and tried to give ourselves a chance.”

Oak Hill finished third with a 342 total and was led by Blake LaFavour and Jacob Mills with 81s. Also counting was Grant Gillespie’s 89 and Spencer White’s 91, while Logan Deaton’s 94 was discarded.

“If you didn’t hit the ball solid or hit a lot of greens you had to be very precise with your chipping,” Conway said. “It was a tale of two different types of greens. The greens were mowed (Friday) but had a layer of dew on them so they rolled a little slower in the morning, and as the dew dried off it got quick and chipping and putting got difficult.

“Mississinewa handled it well as far as reading greens and putting and it showed on their scores,” he added.

Eastbrook placed fifth in its tournament and ahead of Marion with a 352 total and led by Noah Ross, who was fourth overall with a 79. Other Panthers scores were Collin Burman 82, Calvin Ochs 94 and Cody Everling 97 while Gavin Bright’s 99 was discarded.

“Noah struggled a little bit,” Diesler said, “but Collin came through with an 82 and that’s amazing because he didn’t play a varsity 18-hole round last year with a broken back. My freshman (Everling) struggled on the front and righted the ship on the back.

“Ochs quite frankly put up some terrible numbers this spring, but he buckled down and played well today. Kevin Bright I know didn’t score but he had not broken 50 ever until practice the other day and something’s starting to click for him. I’ve got five guys I’m happy about and another senior who didn’t play today.”

The meet was supposed to be one of those rare occurrences where all five Grant County teams competed together on the same course. However, Madison-Grant pulled out with its prom on Saturday evening.

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