SYRACUSE – It could have been easy for Plymouth’s team to fold it up Saturday. Great day outside, a loss in its pocket, surely there was a prom to attend somewhere.
But this time of year seems to be when Plymouth golf starts to take off, and 2019’s version of the Plymouth Invasion began with its tour de force of the Northern Lakes Conference Boys Golf Championships at South Shore Golf Club.
The Pilgrims strung together a round of 323 to fend off Warsaw’s 335, NorthWood’s 342 and Wawasee’s 347 to lay claim to the tournament title. After a 6-1 round robin, its loss coming to undefeated Warsaw Thursday night, the Pilgrims and Tigers split the NLC.
Plymouth had two of the three rounds that broke 70, led by Chapman Yoder’s 76 and Bennett Christy’s 77, the top two scores of the tournament. Yoder had three birdies in his round. After posting a 40 on the opening back nine, Yoder would rally by driving the green on the first for birdie and then adding another on the 470-yard fourth to highlight his 36 on the front. Christy was more steady on the straight forward back nine, shooting a one-over 37, parring eight of the nine holes.
An 80 from Bryce Carmichael and 90 from Owen Yoder rounded out the Plymouth scores.
Warsaw really struggled on the back nine at South Shore. A plus-seven from Cal Hoskins on the 12th and 13th sagged a 44 on the back, and while Hoskins came in with a 37 on the front, his 81 was well off his average yet still served as the top Tiger score. The 12th hole, which runs along State Road 13 heading south, ate Warsaw up. The 480-yard par five saw Warsaw’s five golfers shoot 13-over on the hole while Plymouth was just plus-three.
Zach LaLonde and Chase Byron both turned in cards of 82, LaLonde going 41-41 while Byron went 42-40. Tucker Carlile gave the Tigers a 90 from the fifth position.
“It’s always disappointing when you are the leader and someone comes up and ties you to take away part of a title,” said Warsaw head coach Rich Haddad. “I’m sure the guys are a little disappointed, and we didn’t play as well as we could have. One of our goals was to sweep the regular season NLC matches, and we did that, but the other conference goal was to win the tournament and we came up a little short. Plymouth played very well with some good scores on the board. I would say up and down the board, our kids should have posted better scores, but that’s golf sometimes.”
Wawasee didn’t find its home course as hospitable as it would have liked. Despite playing over a half dozen matches at South Shore this spring, including the Wawasee Invite in late April, Wawasee struggled with some of the nuances it shouldn’t have.
Zach Leedy’s wedges failed him, particularly around the green on the first and fourth holes. A 44 on the front combined with a 41 on the opening back had Leedy at 85 and well off the pace of his playing partners Yoder, Hoskins and Sean Hogan of NorthWood. Tyler Bosstick and Dillon Drake both had 87s and Brandon Tayagua was the fourth score at 88 for the Warriors.
“I’m disappointed, 347 on our own course is not very good,” bluntly stated Wawasee head coach Steve Coverstone. “I’m being honest, we didn’t play very well today. Top to bottom, we had some good streaks, but we didn’t put it together for a whole 18 holes. Some big holes again. We’re going to have to get better or we’re going to be out early in the sectionals.”
Hogan showed the flashes of brilliance that he’s exhibited throughout his career, but just couldn’t string together a full boat. Hogan sandwiched a birdie two on the 14th between a bogey and double, but lagged just a little on the front side with a 42 in what amounted to an 82 to lead the Panthers.
Jon Cripe was next for Wood with an 84, Cooper Wiens had an 86 and Keaton Kitson hung a 90 on his first run through the entire South Shore course.
“Fortunately, we’ve had a chance to be out here a bunch already this year,” NorthWood head coach Phil Ummel said. “We played 27 holes of competition out here and we had another nine-hole practice here earlier this week. We felt pretty good with our strategy on a lot of holes. There are holes that you really have to think your way through, and Meadow Valley in a couple weeks will be that way, too. We really want to target the places to put our tee shots at so that we can properly approach the green.”
Northridge took fifth on the fifth-man score of 90 to best the 103 from Concord after both teams carded 355. Concord was playing without two of its regulars due to prom festivities. Goshen had a 357, highlighted by its round of 78 from Chase Meyer, and Memorial played without virtually its entire varsity because of prom and had its reserves salvage a 424.
Earning All-NLC honors for the tourney were Chapman Yoder, Hoskins, Carmichael, Meyer, Christy, Byron, Hogan and Concord’s Travis Herman. Honorable Mention went to Carlile, LaLonde, Leedy and Owen Yoder. Plymouth head coach Ben Waymouth was selected by his peers as Coach of the Year.