Washington’s rather youthful golf team will find plenty of competition in tomorrow’s IHSAA regional at Country Oaks.
Freshman Eric Wagler also represents Barr-Reeve.
The field is filled with state-ranked and honorable mention teams as the Hatchets play after a four-year absence.
The Evansville sectional sends No. 5 Evansville Memorial and No. 10 Evansville Harrison for a shot at next week’s state final at the Legends Golf Club in Franklin.
Evansville Central’s Dylan Meyer shot 66 at Fendrich to win the Evansville championship. Mount Vernon’s Trevor Grant shot 69 to advance to the Oaks.
Jasper had the two low scores from Sultan’s Run as Will Seger shot 69 and Dru Hein 71. The Wildcats rank 15th in the state.
Linton advanced from its own Phil Harris Gold Course. The Miners (293) were followed by Terre Haute North (297) and Owen Valley (299).
Terre Haute North’s Grant Lewellyn shot 68 — one better than Linton’s Ben Boyd.
Needless to say, the Hatchets have their hands full while playing the role of co-hosts with the staff of the Montgomery course.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Washington coach Bill Ricke said. “We have a young team, and it’s the first time we’ve been back in awhile. It’s exciting for the guys to have the chance to play on our home course.”
Weston Wagler and Brad Hicks are the lone seniors on the Hatchets’ roster. Juniors Devin Rude and Sam Williams, sophomores Tyler Stoll and Cam Lancaster and freshman Clay Hatton add to what could be a very bright golf future.
“If we can have a couple of players in the 70s and the rest of the team in the low to mid 80s, I think that would be a good result,” Ricke said. “Anything better would certainly be great.”
The Hatchets are joined by Vincennes Lincoln and Vincennes Rivet from the Country Club of Old Vincennes sectional.
The field should find a course designed to recognize the better players in the field, with the par 72 playing to nearly 6,900 yards.
“The course will be set much like it was for the Washington Invitational,” Ricke said. “There will be a mixture of difficult to moderate pins. It is always a good test. I don’t think anyone will really sneak out. The course is set so teams making it through will definitely have to know what they are doing.”
Washington has spent most of the past two seasons learning that very lesson. Those lessons are starting to reward dividends.
“We spent a lot of last season working on the technical part of the game,” Ricke said. “I think that carried over nicely. This year we spent more time learning how to manage a course. We’ve talked about how to set yourself in a position to be able to score. We talked about recognizing difficult pins and when to go for pins and when to not.”
Those types of decisions will be important ingredients today. Those decisions will likely determine state-bound players and teams.
“I think we have had a very nice season,” Ricke said. “We want to approach this tournament as one that we can do well in. At the same time, I think we are going to be even better next year. It’s going to be important for the players to respect the course and know when to play with some caution, and when to attack.”
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