If the No. 7 Tigers do, the team bus may be making some room to haul home the second state championship trophy in the illustrious and highly-successful history of the program.
Led by its 1-2 punch of Tyler Ostrom and Jon Schram, Warsaw put itself right in contention for the state’s championship prize Tuesday.
Ostrom, the defending state champion, fired an even round 72 and No. 2 man Schram came in with a one-over par 73 as Warsaw shot 307 on the first day of the finals contested on a windy and sun-drenched course at the Legends Golf Club.
Warsaw, which finished in seventh place in the final team standings in 2011 after shooting 293 in round one and 320 in a weather-delayed final round, is just four shots behind No. 1 Columbus North (303). No. 2 and two-time defending state Brebeuf sits in second at 305.
Senior Bennett Hollar, making his fourth straight appearance at State like classmate Ostrom, shot 80 Tuesday. Junior Tim Ahlersmeyer, The Tigers’ No. 3 player, checked in at 82 and freshman Jonny Hollar, in the No. 5 spot, 86 for WCHS.
The final round begins Wednesday back at the Legends at 7:30 a.m. Warsaw starts final round play at 8:15 with Jonny Hollar, followed by Bennett Hollar at 8:24, Ahlersmeyer at 8:33, Schram at 8:42 and Ostrom at 8:51. The Tigers, who won the state title in 2005 under coach Barkey, will be paired in the final round with players from Brebeuf and Columbus North. “The big story for us today is that we can play a lot better Wednesday,” said Barkey prior to Columbus North and Brebeuf posting their final team scores Tuesday. “That’s the exciting part to me. We’re not out of it and I’m proud of the guys. They battled today.
“We just need to tighten things up a little bit and get rid of some big numbers we had today on some easy holes. Our misses cost us today. Some of it was a luck component. The bounces could have been better for us.
“We’ll accentuate the positives with the guys tonight and come back with confidence Wednesday.”
Schram’s effort was a huge key for the Tigers Tuesday. The junior started off play hot with birdies on his first two holes en route to his strong performance. A year ago, Schram shot back-to-back rounds of 80 at State.
“I came out with a new perspective on this course,” said Schram, who admitted to not liking the Legends layout in the past. “In the past, I’ve come here and been pessimistic. I had a good practice round here Monday. I got off to a good start today and performed well out of the gate. That gave me good momentum right from the start and that was key today.
“I was focused today and gave 110 percent to every shot. I missed in the right spots when I missed today. I can’t wait for Wednesday.”
Ostrom sits just three shots behind individual leader Dylan Meyer, an Evansville Central sophomore who shot 69 Tuesday. Ostrom tied the course and state finals record with an opening round 63 at Legends in 2011 and then shot 74 in the final round to win a state title by two strokes.
“Overall, I’m happy for the team,” said Ostrom, who will play at Ball State University. “I’m a little disappointed, but being three shots back is nothing to be too mad about. I missed some putts and didn’t hit enough greens today. It’s not that tough to score well here.
“It’s huge to have Jon play like he did today and have two of us close to par. It’s exciting for the team and I’m excited for Jon. It’s still a team sport. As far as Wednesday, I’ll do what coach wants me to do as far as what my game plan is and how I attack the course and play.”
Ostrom, the consummate team player, is attempting to become just the fourth boys player to win back-to-back state championships. The last to do it was former South Bend Clay star Jeremy Wilkinson in 1994 and 95.
Bennett Hollar, Warsaw’s No. 4 man, shot 38 on the front and 42 on the back for his 80. The senior, who will play at Wheaton College, shot rounds of 88 and 87 at State a year ago.
“I hit the ball well and that gives me a lot of confidence for Wednesday. The greens were slow, bumpy and had a lot of divots. But, if you hit it firm on your line the putts would go in. I’ll figure that out tonight.”
Warsaw is making its fourth straight trip to State and the program’s seventh in the last nine years.
Penn was the only other area team to make the cut among the 10 squads advancing to Wednesday’s final round. The Kingsmen shot 312 Tuesday, led by a round of 76 by junior James Schwartz. Northridge failed to make the cut at 322 as did Mishawaka Marian at 337.
At The Legends Golf Club, Franklin
Par 72, 6,736 yards
Columbus North 303, Brebeuf 305, Warsaw 307, Floyd Central 308, Cathedral 308, Carmel 309, Jasper 311, Evansville Harrison 311, Penn 312, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 313.
Failed to make cut
Heritage Hills 316, Westfield 317, Noblesville 318, West Lafayette 321, Northridge 322, Zionsville 324, Providence 324, Martinsville 327, Valparaiso 329, Tipton 330, Mishawaka Marian 337.
Dylan Meyer (Evansville Central) 69, Michael Sharp (East Noble) 70, Andrew Havill (Carmel) 71, Wilson Pahud (Brebeuf) 71, Sean Stone (Evansville Harrison) 71, Jon Williams (Cathedral) 71, Tyler Ostrom (Warsaw) 72, Alex Turner (Evansville Harrison) 72, Logan Barker (Martinsville) 73, Jon Schram (Warsaw) 73, Corey Cahalan (Providence) 73, Rylan Porter (Plainfield) 73.
Tyler Ostrom 72, Jon Schram 73, Bennett Hollar 80, Tim Ahlersmeyer 82, Jonny Hollar 86.
James Schwartz 76, Grant Spiritoso 78, Richard Jung 78, Thomas Butler 80, Caelen Rohan 86.
Logan McBride 76, Rhett Holaway 76, Tom Morrison 83, Andrew Edlund 87, Will Erekson 93.
MISHAWAKA MARIAN (337)
Alexander Stopczynski 82, Michael Makris 85, Connor Isban 85, Alexander Disberry 85, John Rozycki 86.
Spencer Mortola (Lakeland) 76, Cody Richardson (Lakeland) 80, Zach Gurtner (LaVille) 82.