SYRACUSE – If there was any solace for the additional miles Tippecanoe Valley had to put on the mini bus Wednesday, it was they were heading to a level playing field. In every sense of the word ‘level’.
The largely flat layout of the Wawasee Golf Club was about the only place in Kosciusko County that wasn’t under inches of water. With that, the course became the host of the boys golf dual between Valley and Wawasee. Given neither team had ever competed there in match play, there was no inherent advantage for the hosts.
Wawasee, however, played about as well as it has all spring, shooting a 154 while Valley did have something to celebrate within its ranks of six golfers with a 197.
Warrior skipper Steve Coverstone couldn’t remember a time in his near two decades in the Wawasee golf cart where Wawasee’s boys competed at WGC. Equally, Thad Mellott hadn’t any reference points for the upper east side of Syracuse for his Vikings. Given Wawasee’s home course, South Shore, was under water, WGC was nearly entirely playable with only a real water buildup on the fringe of hole two and some standing water in the bunkers. Otherwise, all was a-go for the dual.
The par-35 course played pretty true, and Wawasee did its job. Zach Leedy led the team with a 37, but had company with Dillon Drake at 38, Evan Dippon at 39 and Victor Tayagua at 40. Leedy’s round had a double-bogey on the sixth serve as the only real blemish as a birdie on nine and bogey on one cancelled each other out. Drake had just three bogeys all round, Dippon lost a couple strokes on missed putts, but otherwise was steady, and Tayagua made up for a pair of bogeys to start his round with a birdie on the fifth.
Wawasee and Valley played six golfers, keeping four scores in the dual format. Jared Krugman had a nice par on the first and a birdie on the sixth to highlight his round of 44 and Tyler Bosstick started well before finding a little difficulty later on in his 46.
“It was really nice of Matt (Maloni, WGC course pro) to let us come over here and play,” Coverstone said. “We’re just over a third into the season and I think I’m pretty happy with where we are at with our scores. We need some better numbers out of our four and five players, but we’ve been pretty consistent from our top three. I think overall we have some good competitors and they can only get better.”
Cade Brouyette was the medalist, leading Valley with a par round of 35. Starting his round with four pars, Brouyette would find himself two over after seven holes, but rallied with a birdie on nine, then wrapped around with a pitch and putt for a birdie on the par-three first to salvage his even round.
Despite a 51 from Mason Purvis, 53 from Bryce Madeford and 58 from Johnny Gonsalez, there was reason for Valley to take solice as its 197 was a season best. It served as the first time Valley had dipped below 200 this season.
Billy Gilman’s 64 and Gavin Grossman’s 67 rounded out the Valley totals.
“We were just excited to get out on the course,” Mellott said. “The guys embraced this and luckily we had the weather hold out for us to play. We have a lot of young kids and beginners outside of Cade. We did pretty well today just keeping the ball straight and not getting in too much trouble on the course. Now, we didn’t make some putts we should have and took an extra swing or two to get to the green, but that will hopefully work itself out as we get more experience.”