While neither team finished at the top of the field, Trinity Lutheran and Seymour’s boys golf teams left the links in high spirits Saturday.
Like they have all season, the programs battled to the finish and showed improvement through undesirable conditions.
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In a competitive field, it took more than four scores to decide the champions at St. Anne’s Golf Course.
Tied at 314 strokes, Madison and Columbus East had to compare the cards of their fifth golfers.
The Cubs took the 10-team Jennings County Invitational title, with Trent Jameson’s 91 trumping Cole Schafer’s 98 for East.
Seymour placed third in team scoring with a 324 followed by Southwestern (Hanover) (339), Greensburg (351), Jennings County (353), Trinity (358), Whiteland (372), Shelbyville (440) and Austin (444).
The golfers battled a downpour before slogging through the remainder of the tournament in soggy conditions.
Southwestern’s Hunter Mefford shot an even-par 71 for top medalist honors.
Hunter Browning led Seymour, tying for third place individually, by shooting 76.
Tyler Bullard shot an 81, Owen Marshall carded 87, Ethan Dippold totaled 80 and Tommy Hoffmeier rounded out the Owls’ five with 93.
Owls coach Jim Hoffman said he was proud of the way the boys handled the conditions.
“The conditions, when we got here, were miserable,” he said. “It was pouring down rain and chilly. The boys gutted through that. After about 10 holes, the weather turned.”
Above all else, Hoffman wants to see the team continue to improve and compete.
“We turned in some good scores today,” Hoffman said. “We ended up third, and I’m pretty happy with that. We have seen improvements. Ethan Dippold shot an 80, and Hunter (Browning) had 76, and we were right there with just a few holes to go. The young guys are coming along.”
Hoffman said the team is striking the ball better since each time they go out.
“It’s a mental game, mostly, but I really feel that we’re hitting the ball straight,” he said. “We’re hitting the ball more solid. Around the greens, we’re getting better. If we keep improving the way we are, the future looks really good.”
Kody Reynolds and Adrian Adams each scored 78s while Avery Foist and Mark Mahew carded 79s for East. The four all finished in the top nine individually.
“We did a great job of competing today — it was by far the best we’ve played this year,” East coach Tom LaBarbera said. “Everyone improved. It was tough conditions, with it raining half of the day.”
Bryce Kirchner led the Panthers by finishing third individually with a 76. Austin Roscoe (90), Justin Gapser (92), Hunter Conrad (95) and Joe Kelley (97) completed the Jennings scorecard.
The Hoosier Hills Confectioner tournament will be conducted at St. Anne’s on May 19.
Trinity Lutheran’s seventh-place finish was led by an 82 from Noah Criswell. Jacob Keith shot 85 followed by Mark Shoemaker (90), Ryland Nierman (101) and Josiah Foster (103).
“They did pretty well, I’m pretty happy with the kids’ scores,” Trintiy coach Greg Personett said. “The only one with past tournament experience is Jacob Keith. They are making improvements, and playing in these tournaments really helps them grow.
“Mark Shoemaker is making incredible progress. His score today didn’t indicate it, but he’s starting to put it all together. Jacob Keith has had a tendency to play up or down to his competition in the past. This year I see him giving his best every time. “
Personett lost six players to graduation going into this season, and another moved back to Japan. With five players total on the 2018 roster, he has been able to work on more with the boys.
“Last year I had a really good team,” Personett said. “I basically spent the year managing. My top six last year knew what to work on and how to do it. This year, I have a lot more time to work with the kids. I see them more often and we can go back to practice and work on it. I think it is very helpful.”