By Mike Deak
PLYMOUTH – It was going to take a spotless day to get out of the Plymouth Boys Golf Regional. None of Warsaw, Triton or NorthWood were able to hit the mark as their golf seasons all came to a close on a muggy, heavy Thursday afternoon at Swan Lake Golf Club.
A heavy downpour late Wednesday night and into the very early morning hours Thursday left the Black Course at Swan Lake very wet, even under water in some parts. But the additional moisture on the course didn’t slow down Fort Wayne Dwenger or Columbia City, which both were heads and shoulders above the rest of the star-studded field in their respective performances. The Saints rolled out a 298 to win the regional title, four shots better than Columbia City at 302.
The two teams were pretty secure of its place as Warsaw and Fort Wayne Carroll, which were paired together with Northridge and some individuals, both finished up at 316, Warsaw carrying the better of the two fifth-man scores, 82 versus 84, which shockingly knocked out the No. 3-ranked Chargers. But the Tigers weren’t out of the water, and nervously paced for over an hour as other ranked programs filtered in.
That nervousness turned into a sour taste as Penn and Homestead were two of the last teams to finish their rounds, and the two had better collective efforts. The Kingsmen hung its final 80 from Jonah Kumfer to complete a 311 team score, knocking out Homestead’s 314 and Warsaw’s 316 as the third and final team to make the IHSAA State Finals next week.
The line also ended for Warsaw’s individual hopes, a stunning turn of events for a team that shot a 296 a week ago at the sectional. Cal Hoskins had a 77 and Jack Yeager a 78, but both scores would come short of the 72 by Fort Wayne Canterbury’s Joe Shaklik, 74s from Peru’s Kash Bellar and Northridge’s Brock Reschly, and 75s from Fort Wayne Concordia’s Bailey Marquart and Kokomo’s Brandon Hansen.
Warsaw also had an 80 from Aidan Bowell, 81 from Tucker Carlile and 82 from Ben Brander in their final rounds of the season.
NorthWood nor Triton had nearly the dramatic pause in between its rounds and the bustling of the leaderboards. Both teams fell short of expectation, and both were well off the pace, Triton shooting a 340 for 13th and NorthWood a 343 for 14th.
For the Trojans, it had Breylon Wareham lead the team with an 81 in a bounceback effort from a tough sectional showing. Cole McKinney, the Hoosier North Athletic Conference champion, labored through a miserable front nine and a 45, but his 39 on the back salvaged an 84. John Gardner was one back at 85 and Keegan Westafer, who won a challenge match to earn a regional slot after not playing the sectional, shot 90 in his final round. Bruce Johnson turned in a 91 as the fifth Trojan score.
“Obviously things didn’t go well like they did last week,” noted Triton head coach Blake Schori. “You always wish for better results when you know you have teams like this here and you can’t make a lot of mistakes, but that’s golf sometimes. We’re proud of what we did this season. Today we knew we were up against it. We weren’t going to catch Columbia City or Warsaw, or teams like Carroll or Dwenger, with scores in the 80s. We just didn’t have it today, but that’s alright.”
It was much of the same for the Panthers, which had a very good round of 79 from Cooper Wiens, just a couple of double bogeys derailing a potential state berth. As it was, Earl Williams shot an 82, Jon Cripe an 85, Ben Vincent a 97 and Brady Chupp a 100 to round out the season figures for the boys from Wanee.
“It was helpful that nothing was expected of us today,” said NorthWood head coach Phill Ummel. “Last week you could sense them tensing up when we started playing poorly. Are we going to make it, not make it. Today we were playing with house money. So did we play our best? No. But we tried to get that tunnel vision in, it’s you, it’s the course and you don’t need to worry about anything else. It doesn’t matter what anybody in your group is shooting, we can’t control what anybody else is doing on the course.
“It’s a learning process.”
Earning tournament medalist was Dwenger’s Sam Brita, who beat Columbia City’s Drew Dunham and Shaklik in a three-man playoff, all finishing at 72.
Dwenger, City and Penn along with the five individuals, will all head to Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel for the two-day IHSAA State Finals starting Tuesday morning.