Caston’s Dague wins Hoosier North medalist; Pioneer frosh Rans also makes all-conference
Winamac shoots 390, wins conference title at Round Barn
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Dedicated to golf, chilly, windy weather did not keep Caston senior A.J. Dague from taking medalist honors at the Hoosier North Athletic Conference boys golf tournament at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek on May 20.
However, Caston shot a 447 and finished seventh among seven complete teams. Among other area teams, Culver was fifth with a 427, and Pioneer was sixth with a 440.
Beside Rans, the only other RTC area player to make the all-conference team was Pioneer freshman Micah Rans, who was seventh with a 98.
Area players to make honorable mention included Caston’s Colby Pugh and Culver’s Steven Pugh, each of whom shot a 103.
Caston only played with four players. LaVille had an incomplete team consisting of three players.
Winamac shot a 390 to win the team title.
Winamac was the only team to break 400, and only eight of the 37 individuals broke 100.
“Early on, I could tell it was going to be tough,” Caston coach Chuck Evans said. “I thought everybody out here battled through the conditions, and I knew the scores were going to be high. From a team standpoint, we knew it was probably going to be around the 400s. They were going to be higher than normal. The conditions just weren’t fun in the wind.”
At start time, temperatures were in the low-to-mid 50s with strong crosswinds that made it hard for players to control their ball. Jackets and knit hats were common fashion accessories.
“It feels pretty good, but we just played in horrible conditions today,” Dague said. “Windy as heck, and I really didn’t play all that well but played good enough to at least get this far.”
Often times, players prefer a lower ball flight to cut through the wind, but Dague said that’s easier said than done.
“Lower shots are more difficult to hit,” Dague said. “I mean, you can hit them, but it’s just easier to go up clubs, and even when you do that, it’s not as easy because then yardages get different. And then, you’re thinking, the wind is coming this way, the green’s elevated, so (you have to hit) higher, just more to think about in a game that you already have to think non-stop anyways.”
Only one player in the field, North Judson’s Teagen Hampton, parred the notoriously difficult par-4 first hole. Dague, who shot 43 on both the front nine and back nine, was asked about the course.
“This course especially, I think personally that they kind of even themselves out with difficulty,” Dague said. “I mean, yeah, the front nine has quite a bit more water on it. The back nine, you have to play a little bit more strategy. The last three holes, I don’t hit driver. (Hole number) 18 is short, and 17, I always lay up to the creek, and 16’s a par-3. But 11 and 12, 11 is definitely more difficult par-5; 12 is shorter, and 12, if I could have hit a good drive, but I got mixed up in that waste bunker.”
Dague said he has been golfing since he was 5 or 6. He said he’s always loved it. He played multiple practice rounds at Round Barn to get ready, and he said he practices “seven days a week.”
“Nobody can master it,” Dague said. “It’s just fun to try to anyways. That’s the challenge of it.”
Dague credits his father and grandfather for helping teach him the game. He calls Pond View Golf Course in Star City his home course but said his grandfather “lugged me around” to Round Barn as a kid, and that’s where he learned to love the game.
“He taught me the basics and got me this far,” Dague said.
Evans said this round is a credit to his mental approach.
“What I like about A.J. – and I was just telling him that – is he grinds it out,” Evans said. “He’s a mentally tough kid. He works at it. He lets his game come to him. He might have a bad hole, but he still battles it out. At the end of the day, I always know he’s going to be in the low-80s to high-70s, and I always appreciate his work ethic and how much he’s dedicated to the game.
“He won today because he was mentally tough, and he just grinded it out.”
at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek, May 20 (par 72)
Winamac 390, Triton 403, North Judson 416, Knox 416, Culver 427, Pioneer 440, Caston 447, LaVille (incomplete team)
WINAMAC (390): Hines 89, Dickinson 96, Fredel 101, Fulner 104, (Garner 110)
TRITON (403): Worsham 93, Patrick 99, Riffle 102, Olesen 109, (Waymouth 115)
NORTH JUDSON (416): G. Minix 93, Stowe 106, Hampton 106, Radtke 111, (B. Minix 113)
KNOX (416): Binkley 97, Goins 104, Watson 105, Singleton 110, (Sibo 114)
CULVER (427): Steven Pugh (53-50) 103, Rylan Voter (51-54) 105, David Hite (57-50) 107, Aleks Stacy (59-53) 112, (Jason Cadle (60-58) 118)
PIONEER (440): Micah Rans (52-46) 98, Brady Price (53-53) 106, Jaden Seward (54-59) 113, Tayt Smith (58-65) 123, (Cole Franklin (65-62) 127)
CASTON (447): A.J. Dague (43-43) 86, Colby Pugh (55-48) 103, Luke Graham (61-60) 121, Chas Warpenburg (68-69) 137
LAVILLE: Ort 133, Maenhout 135, McFadden 144
All-Hoosier North (top eight): 1. A.J. Dague (Caston) – 86, 2. Brendan Hines (Winamac) – 89, t-3. Gabe Minix (North Judson) – 93, t-3. Tucker Worsham (Triton) – 93, 5. Luke Dickinson (Winamac) – 96, 6. Owen Binkley (Knox) – 97, 7. Micah Rans (Pioneer) – 98, 8. Landon Patrick (Triton) – 99
Honorable mention (9th-14th places): 9. Logan Fredel (Winamac) – 101, 10. Gavin Riffle (Triton) – 102, t-11. Steven Pugh (Culver) – 103, t-11. Colby Pugh (Caston) – 103, t-13. Cooper Fulmer (Winamac) – 104, t-13. Matthew Goins (Knox) – 104