PLYMOUTH – Heading into Thursday’s Plymouth Boys Golf Regional, Warsaw coach Rich Haddad kind of figured his overwhelmingly young team was playing with house money.
Of course, the Tigers were going to give it their best effort, but Haddad was looking at the tournament as an experience to build on in the coming years for his young golfers. Well, now Warsaw is headed to state.
The Tigers carded a 318 at Swan Lake Golf Club to beat out both Canterbury and Peru by a single stroke, earning the last team ticket out to the IHSAA state finals Thursday.
“We’re a young team, so I felt having regional experience this year was a big win for us. It’s a whole other level that we now get to have a state finals experience, and that’s going to be great,” said Haddad.
“We had some good rounds, some rounds where the guys just gutted it out and hung in there. Literally two teams one stroke from us shows you why every stroke counts. I’m really proud of all the boys for playing all 18 holes, whether it was good or bad. It’s great that they get rewarded for all their work this year and that we get to experience state.”
Bishop Dwenger fired a 305 for team championship honors, follow by Penn’ 307, while Warsaw earned the right to advance in the third spot out to next Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s state championships at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
The Tigers got their best two rounds from freshman top flighter Cal Hoskins and senior number three Chase Byron, each of whom struggled at the outset on the back nine at Swan Lake but settled in to card dual 75s for Warsaw.
Hoskins struggled the entire back nine before going 1 under on the front side, while Byron got it together after a round couple first holes to go low for his team.
“I talked to Chase after two. He bogeyed the first two. He really hooked the first two tee shots so I think he was a little concerned. He parred the next and just settled down and really ran a string of holes that was just fantastic to shoot 75,” Haddad said. “And Calen, he’s been our best player all year and actually had a tough front nine. He three-putts the ninth green to shoot 4-over and was pretty frustrated. So we walked to 10 and went ‘You’re good enough to shoot under par on this back nine, and you can do it.’ At the time, I thought he’ll need that to maybe qualify as an individual, and he turns around and shoots 1 under on the back nine to shoot 75 as well.
“So those two leading us — our senior and our number one freshman this year — it was really neat to see them just carry the day when they needed to.”
Meanwhile for Warsaw, Zach Lalonde carded a respectable 83, Tucker Carlisle turned in an 85, and Jack Yeager finished just two strokes back of that tally for the Tigers’ toss-out score in a consistent performance for the orange and black.
After advancing singly out of the Northridge Sectional last week with a low-medalist 77, NorthWood’s Sean Hogan fired a 76 and was in the hunt for one of five individual berths at the state finals. But as the last scores trickled in, he was bumped out of the top five among individuals from non-advancing teams, as Columbia City’s Alex Hedricks’ 75 represented the cutoff in a heartbreaker for Hogan.
Triton’s Chase Butler shot 89 at Swan Lake to finish out his year after earning an individual regional berth at last week’s Warsaw Sectional with a 74 at Rozella Ford. Manchester’s Harley Krushcwitz turned in a 79 to close his season at Swan Lake, meanwhile.
Warsaw now advances to the big stage at Prairie View, with golf slated to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Sure, the Tigers will be happy to be there, but, as Thursday’s regional proved, anything can happen.
“To just go down there and experience the best golf in the state of Indiana and to know that we earned our spot and that we are a part of it has to be a great confidence boost but also is going to create some great momentum for these kids as they continue to work on their game. I’m going to go down there and tell them to just go down there and soak it all in, have a great experience and play great golf. And like today, you never know,” Haddad said.