MIDDLEBURY – The layout for the 2019 Northridge Boys Golf Sectional seemed eerily similar to that of the 2018 tournament. Unfortunately for NorthWood, it wasn’t able to replicate recent vintage.
The Panthers fell off the pace, shooting a 346 to land sixth on the table and bowing out of the state tournament. NorthWood, which came into the day the two-time defending sectional champion, were nine strokes back of both Goshen and Concord as the final two teams to advance to the regional. All was not lost as Sean Hogan notched a regional berth as the sectional medalist.
Westview claimed honors as team champion with a 329 while Concord’s fifth man outdid Goshen to take second as both teams finished at 337. Northridge had a 340 and Fairfield had 343 ahead of NorthWood.
Hogan had himself quite a round on what was a really tough track at Meadow Valley. The waterlogged golf course, ahem, the less-wet-than-Thursday-morning course presented a fair amount of challenges for anyone that couldn’t keep the ball in the fairway. Hogan was one of the few who did keep it in play, even birdieing the 12th, to highlight his round of 77. While scores across the state had golfers in the high 60s and low 70s to headline their tournaments, Hogan was one of just three to break 80 at the saturated Middlebury public course. To continue on as a senior, Hogan will take it.
“It feels pretty good. It kind of sucks the team didn’t do better but, I mean, I feel good personally,” Hogan said after being announced as tourney medalist, his first postseason medalist. “I hit a lot of greens and I placed it really good off the tee. I didn’t have any penalties, so all my mistakes were little enough that when they added up it wasn’t much.”
Westview’s Carter Giggy at 78 and Concord’s Travis Hermon at 79 were the other two to break 80.
The Panthers just didn’t have the magic to move on with Hogan. Of the other three scorers for NorthWood – Jon Cripe, Cooper Wiens and Keaton Kitson – none of the three had a birdie in any of their rounds but had 28 bogeys and 10 double bogeys or worse. Wiens shot an 84, Cripe an 88 and Kitson a 97. Liam Hammond was the fifth Panther score at 101. NorthWood failed to make the regional for the first time since 2012.
Panther head coach Phil Ummel was pretty even keel about the tourney appearance.
“We just had three guys not play well today, plain and simple,” said NorthWood head coach Phil Ummel. “You have to remember that none of these other four guys have played in a sectional before, but at the same time, we can’t play like that and expect to get out of a sectional.
“We had a pretty solid strategy but wanted to be conservative in our approach. We wanted to be below the holes and try to stay out of the big numbers, but unfortunately couldn’t stay away from the big numbers enough.”
Northridge’s Tyler Frazier and Fairfield’s Cody Maust won a playoff to advance as individuals without a team, outdueling Jimtown’s Keenan Perkins, who all shot 80 in regulation.
Westview, Concord and Goshen advance to Thursday’s Plymouth Regional at Swan Lake as do Hogan, Frazier and Maust looking to punch individual tickets to the IHSAA State Finals in mid-June.