By Mike Deak
PLYMOUTH – It does happen, but typically the ultra-deep boys golf tournament fields are reserved for Indianapolis. Not this week, as Thursday’s Plymouth Boys Golf Regional at Swan Lake will host seven teams ranked in the latest IHSGCA poll, and that doesn’t include a host of area teams that are hoping to stay under the radar enough to nab a state berth.
The final week’s rankings saw seven teams ranked in the top 20, including No. 3 Fort Wayne Carroll, which comes in as the East Noble sectional champion, No. 10 Penn, which won the South Bend Riley title, and No. 11 Warsaw, the Warsaw champ.
No. 13 Columbia City, No. 14 Fort Wayne Dwenger and No. 20 Leo were all tournament runners-up, and No. 18 Fort Wayne Blackhawk was third at Canterbury, where the perennial power Homestead Spartans won the title over Blackhawk and Dwenger.
Given the lofty standings, the pairings for Plymouth feature some star-studded groupings. Warsaw and Northridge will renew pleasantries, the two directly linked to the Northern Lakes Conference championship as Warsaw was the benefactor of a Northridge scoring violation that took the title from the Raiders and sent over to the Tigers. Oh by the way, the No. 3 Chargers will be in the group, Carroll owning a head-to-head win over Warsaw, but Warsaw clipping Carroll at the Bob Turner Classic a couple weeks back. The group will begin tee times at 8:30 a.m. on the first tee.
“You look at the teams that are coming in, it’s ranked team after ranked team, and big rankings like Carroll and Penn,” offered Warsaw head coach Jack Carpenter. “You look at those two, they probably give us the biggest challenge, but you can’t have an off round with all these quality teams coming in. We just have to play our own game and not worry about everyone else. Take care of ourselves. If we play like we did (at the sectional), then we should be OK.”
Homestead, Penn and Kokomo will follow the Warsaw groups onto the first tee.
Leading off the tenth tee at 8 a.m. are Goshen, Leo, Columbia City and Dwenger in a low key power quad.
The next group will include NorthWood, which finished third at Northridge last weekend, along with St. Joe, Maconaquah and East Noble on an 8:50 a.m. first tee from the back nine. Triton, which took third at Warsaw, will join Blackhawk, Lewis Cass and Mishawaka Marian in the final group, that is slated to begin tees at 9:40 a.m.
“Swan Lake is a different animal than what we saw (at Rozella),” said Triton head coach Blake Schori. “It’s longer, there are a lot more hazards that come into play. Swan Lake is a flat course so you won’t get a lot of extra roll. The greens at Rozella and Swan are pretty comparable, so that’ll help with the knowledge of how those play, but it’ll still be a big challenge.”
The top three teams and top five individuals from a non-advancing team will move onto the final stage of the state tournament, the IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals, which will take place June 15-16 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.