Walking away from the Providence Regional golf tournament on Thursday at Champions Pointe, Seymour freshman Keaton Simpson had a 78 on his card and a little something else in his back pocket.
Although he missed qualifying for a state tournament berth by four shots, he learned a lot about playing good golf in the pressure-packed regional.
“Nerves,” Simpson said with a smile. “It’s all about nerves. You need to learn how to handle pressure. In regular tournaments, I am just nervous on the first shot. Here, I was nervous every shot.
“You want to be the best. You’ve got to be solid on every shot. There are a lot of awesome players out there.”
Simpson and junior teammate Brady Marshall, who shot 77, served notice that they could be among the best next season. Both were within a solid back nine of qualifying for the state tournament.
“I needed to shoot a low number (on the back nine) to get close,” Simpson said. “I just got kind of tired. It was hot and it was a long course.
“I played to my potential, but I didn’t play my best.”
Simpson, who shot 38 on the front, left some strokes on the course because he couldn’t get hot with his putter. “I had a lot of birdie putts, but I didn’t make them,” he said.
Marshall shot 39 on his front nine and knew he would have to get some breaks on the back.
“On the front side, I bogeyed three in a row (holes 3, 4, 5) and that took some of the steam out of me.”
He played solid golf on the back nine, but like his teammate, couldn’t get the putts to fall. “The only thing I can complain about my round is that I had an average day putting.
“I am pretty sure I shot my stroke average for the year, but I needed to be better.”
Seymour golf coach Jim Hoffman was proud of his players.
“What a great experience that they will use later,” Hoffman said. “I know they are going to work even harder.
“They were both right there. I know that Keaton just had two bad swings that cost him. We’re looking up (as a team). I am real excited.”
Hoffman said that neither golfer would be too distraught about falling short of the state tournament. “I think they both have a positive attitude,” he said. “I think they both are going to value this experience. They were here playing some very good golf against a lot of ranked teams.”
It was another sign, according to Hoffman, that Seymour golf is going to continue to trend in the right direction.
“We knocked 25 shots off our team average since the beginning of the season,” he said. “We also shot in the 160s in all our dual matches and that was a goal.
“We’re getting better.”
Center Grove, the top-ranked team in the state, won the team title with a 290 total. Bloomington South (298) and Hoosier Hills Conference foe Floyd Central (306) earned the other two automatic qualifying team bids to the state tournament.
Bloomington South’s Joe Weiler won the individual title with a 70 while Center Grove’s Zack Carrabine and Noah Gillard tied for second at 71.
at Champions Pointe in Henryville
1. Center Grove 290
2. Bloomington South 298
3. Floyd Central 306
ALSO: Franklin Community 308, Perry Meridian 309, Columbus North 311, Providence 314, Heritage Hills 318, Columbus East 319, Corydon 320, Jasper 323, Bedford North Lawrence 334, Madison 337, Scottsburg 347, Bloomington North 348, Greensburg 353, Jennings County 364, Springs Valley 367
1. Joe Weiler, Bloomington South 70
2t. Zack Carrabine, Center Grove, 71
2t. Noah Gillard, Center Grove 71
SEYMOUR PLAYERS: Brady Marshall 39-38-77; Keaton Simpson 38-40-78