Culver Academy boys golf beats Valley, Rochester
Valley’s Miller shoots 38 in season opener; McLochlin leads Zebras with a 40
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Golf Club of Warsaw opened last December, just in time for Tippecanoe Valley senior Greg Miller to practice there once or twice a week on their indoor golf simulators.
The rest of the time, there is that makeshift putting green in his basement.
Miller showed he might be the premier golfer in the RTC area when he shot a 38 to earn medalist honors in a three-way match against Rochester and Culver Academy at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek Thursday, but it was the Eagles who earned the win.
Culver Academy shot a 166, Valley shot a 173, and Rochester had a 177.
Other Valley scores included Ethan Young’s 42, Wes Parker’s 44, Eli Love’s 49 and Nolan Cumberland’s 56.
J.R. McLochlin led the Zebras with a 40. Noah Riffle had a 42, Drew Strasser had a 44, Wes Meadows had a 51, and Enrique Navarro had a 56.
Rory Sullivan was Culver Academy’s low scorer with a 40. The Eagles return four players from a team that finished 10th at last year’s Plymouth regional.
The match was held in unusually warm mid-April weather with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s.
“It was pretty good,” Miller said. “I’ll take it for the first match of the year. I was a little nervous on the first hole and didn’t start great, but I bounced back pretty good – even par after the first hole, so I’ll take that.”
Valley coach Darren Parker said that Miller is capable of getting even lower scores. He said Mill Creek’s notorious No. 1 can be a mental hurdle for golfers.
“Greg’s even better than that,” Parker said. “That’s the scary thing. I don’t know what his problem is with hole one. He likes to double-bogey his first hole here, and then he plays well after that. He knows he’s good enough that he can get away with that. Greg’s going to shoot some rounds under par easily this year, so he’s not midseason form yet, but it’s close.”
Parker also praised Young for his worth ethic.
“How hard he works in the offseason and his swing,” Parker replied when asked what impresses him about Young. “He spends a lot of time with a pro working on perfecting that swing. I’ve seen that progress from him since he was in about the seventh grade. … He’s got a great golf game. His confidence is going to grow this year. He’s going to be a strong number two to Greg.”
Rochester was coming off a 341 at the Rochester Invitational last Saturday. Rochester finished fourth but was just five shots out of first.
McLochlin, Riffle, Strasser and Meadows are returnees from last year’s varsity. Navarro is a varsity newcomer at the No. 5 spot.
“We have a big jump from four to five,” Heyde said of his lineup. “I’m working on trying to get a solid fifth to start getting down into the low 40s or mid-40s. So out of those top four, we just had one kid with a bad night. His grips were slipping or something. I couldn’t really tell. We said we have to work on it tomorrow at the range because changing something mid-round especially when you’re in a match can really affect that in a bad way. So (Meadows) shot a 51. Without that, we would have been in the 160s easy, I think. … If he goes down to the mid-40s, I think we’re good there. … I think we played about like we did over the weekend.”
Heyde, a 2008 Rochester grad who also coached the Zebra boys tennis team in the fall, is a first-time varsity golf coach. He was a member of the 2006 Rochester team that advanced to the state finals.
Though he is a first-year coach, he acknowledged his players’ experience.
“They know what they’re doing,” Heyde said. “I had 12 kids on the course today, all spread out. Actually, we had some on the back nine as well. … They know what they’re doing. They know the rules. … They know how to adjust accordingly to hopefully mitigate any swing issues they have during the round. I try to leave them alone during matches. You practice, but during a match, you can’t really change much because you can really start getting in your head.”
Heyde also acknowledged the role that his predecessor Dan Bailey played in building the program.
“I love golf,” Heyde said. “I like coaching. They needed a coach. Dan had done it, but his kids are now in high school in different sports, so he was stepping away for a bit. I enjoy coaching, and I enjoy golf, and it’s kind of a win-win.”
at Round Barn Golf at Mill Creek Thursday (front nine, par 36)
CULVER ACADEMY (166): Sullivan 40, Lee 42, Wiernik 42, Collins 42, (Hart 44)
VALLEY (173): Greg Miller 38, Ethan Young 42, Wes Parker 44, Eli Love 49, (Nolan Cumberland 56)
ROCHESTER (177): J.R. McLochlin 40, Noah Riffle 42, Drew Strasser 44, Wes Meadows 51, (Enrique Navarro 56)
ROCHESTER JV (217): Davis Renie 51, Brock Bowers 54, Brady Morgan 56, Robert Bozzo 56, (Ashton Musselman 57)
ROCHESTER EXTRAS: Kaeven Brown 60, Parker Brown 62
VALLEY JV (222): Nash Bouse 50, Parker Newcomer 55, Remington Rickel 55, Khristian Sebastian 62, (Marcus Jansma 63)