Renie wins sectional medalist, leads Rochester to 2nd place at Logansport sectional
Winamac takes 7th, Pioneer 9th, Caston 10th in 12-team field
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
LOGANSPORT –- Rochester senior Reece Renie was not feeling good about the way he was playing at the sectional.
A talk with coach Dan Bailey changed his mental approach to the game.
And at the Logansport sectional at Dykeman Park Golf Course Friday, he had the round of his life.
Renie shot a 73, a lifetime best for 18 holes, to win medalist honors and help Rochester advance as a team to the regional.
Twin Lakes won the sectional with a 310. Rochester, who shot a 319, and Logansport, who posted a 332, also advanced to the regional, which will be held at Sandy Pines Golf Club in DeMotte at 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday.
Among other area teams at Logansport, Winamac was seventh in the 11-team field with a 384, Pioneer was ninth with a 396, and Caston was 10th with a 418.
Rensselaer teammates Zachary Hillan (80) and Zach Geleott (82) and Kankakee Valley’s Hayden Myers (83) had the three lowest scores among individuals on non-advancing teams and also advanced.
Other Rochester scores included Wade Shafer’s 75, Drew Strasser’s 85, Dryden Vance’s 86, and J.R. McLochlin’s 89.
Like Renie, Shafer and Vance also set lifetime bests for 18 holes.
Renie, who is Rochester’s first sectional medalist since Jackson Sawyer in 2016, is going to the regional for the third time. He made it as part of the RHS team that finished third at the 2018 sectional, and he also made it as an individual in 2019.
“It was just really fun being here with the team, and we had a lot of fun today,” Renie said. “We had a lot of fun this week getting ready for today. Really this year, we’ve just kind of come together as a team and just had a lot of fun. Everybody loves everybody. Over the whole year, we’ve started to bring the score down. Conference was step number one, and this was step number two, and Thursday is step number three.”
Shafer, a senior, also advanced as part of the 2018 team.
Strasser, Vance and McLochlin will be going to the regional for the first time.
The team score of 319 was 18 strokes better than the previous season low of 337 at the Three Rivers Conference tournament back on May 15.
“It feels amazing,” Rochester coach Dan Bailey said. “We set a goal of being sub-330. I’m thinking that would give us a chance to get out. And it would have. But 319 was tremendous. The guys feel very good. They should feel very good. It’s great to see them playing their best golf now.”
Renie’s round started with a birdie on No. 1 but he followed with a double-bogey on No. 2. He was still at one-over-par through six holes after he came to the par-five seventh hole.
There, knowing that the green sloped back to front, he did not want to risk sailing his approach shot over the green. So he laid up using a four-iron on his second shot. His chip went just past the hole and rolled back into the cup for an eagle.
He then parred No. 9 for a front-nine 33 before shooting a back-nine 40.
“He was playing about as bad three weeks ago as I’ve seen him play,” Bailey said. “I think the finality of his senior season was weighing on him a little bit. All I tried to do with him was remind him how good of a golfer he really is. He had some self-doubt creep in a little bit. It was really just getting him to clear some clutter out of his mind and realize that he had the ability to play pretty well. He spent some extra time out hitting balls where he and I would just go out 10 or 15 minutes after practice and work on some stuff. Mostly, it was just helping him remember he knows how to play this game pretty well.”
Renie said the toughest part of Dykeman Park is its par-threes. Dykeman Park has six par-3s, and three of them are 200 yards or longer. Renie played them in 3-over-par.
“There was one pushing 230 into the wind uphill, and I had to hit all I had on a 3-wood, and it was on the front edge (of the green),” Renie said.
Renie said his father Kevin introduced him to golf. Kevin Renie is now an assistant coach on Bailey’s staff.
“Last week and the beginning of this week, I was struggling with my swing,” Reece Renie said. “And I was getting really frustrated. Coach and I had a conversation that wasn’t the best conversation. It came out after being a good conversation. But it was just kinda like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be a better leader for the team.’ I don’t think I was being selfish, but I was more focused on why I was hitting it bad and I wasn’t focusing on how to hit it better. We had a conversation, and we fixed some things in my swing, and I wouldn't say they were huge things, but coach Bailey has helped me with my mentality throughout the whole year.”
Shafer birdied Nos. 2, 7 and 13. No. 7 is the longest hole on the course at 520 yards, and No. 13 is also a par-five.
Shafer also parred four of the six par-threes on the course.
Shafer credited Bailey for his success. He said “a lot of mental work” and “problem solving” is involved in competing at this level.
“At least for me, everything,” Shafer said when asked how much credit Bailey deserves. “I’m not shooting a 75, and I’m not breaking 85 here without him. I hit two or three bunker shots today that two weeks ago without his help, I don’t even come close. I am playing today, and I believe our whole team can say the same, the reason why we’re playing well today is because of him.”
Shafer was in a playoff for an individual regional spot at the 2019 sectional but lost to Rensselaer’s Tyler Castongia. He waited two years to get back to this point.
“I felt like I should have been there my sophomore year,” Shafer said. “We went freshman year, and I felt like I should have been there sophomore year. So shooting that 75 was kinda redemption for that failed two holes I had in the playoff.”
Vance’s length off the tee is his biggest strength, according to Bailey.
“Dryden can hit the ball a mile,” Bailey said. “His biggest weakness is lack of self-confidence. He’ll hit one or two that are a little squirrelly or don’t go where he wants, and he sometimes wants to abandon the driver and start playing super conservative, and then he hits the ball really well. We’ve just got to get some more consistency in him. Reece made a comment today when we were hitting out on the range, he looked at me and said, ‘Dryden just looks like he could come out and shoot 65 without trying.’”
The Warriors shot a 384 for coach Scott Roudebush.
Jaxon Roudebush led with an 87, Shaun Pratt had a 95, Jaden Terry had a 99, Trent Fox had a 103, and Brayden Lynch had a 109.
Zane Lucy led Pioneer with an 88. Zac Taylor had a 93, Wes Hopkins had a 103, Jaden Seward had a 112, and Joseph Mersch had a 122.
Taylor’s round included a birdie on No. 10.
A.J. Dague led coach Chuck Evans’ Caston squad with an 86 but missed advancing as an individual by four strokes. Colby Pugh and Dean Sylvain each shot a 109, Domanic Hersemann had a 114, and Marshall Finke had a 117.
The most recent Caston golfer to advance to the regional was Eli Douglass in 2017.
Logansport boys golf sectional results (top three teams advance to regional): Twin Lakes 310, Rochester 319, Logansport 332, Rensselaer 333, Kankakee Valley 345, Covenant Christian (DeMotte) 372, Winamac 384, South Newton 392, Pioneer 396, Caston 418, Tri-County 471, North Newton (incomplete team)
TWIN LAKES (310): Ousley 74, Dellinger 75, Alexander 78, Creamer 83, (Hubbard 84)
ROCHESTER (319): Reece Renie (33-40) 73, Wade Shafer (36-39) 75, Drew Strasser (42-43) 85, Dryden Vance (41-45) 86, (J.R. McLochlin (45-44) 89)
LOGANSPORT (332): Trevor Vietti 76, Tyler Vietti 83, Lange 86, Higgins 87, (Wooten 95)
RENSSELAER (333): Hillan 80, Geleott 82, Odle 83, Dixon 88, (Wilmington 90)
KANKAKEE VALLEY (345): Myers 82, Andree 86, Adams 87, Swallow 90, (Bakker 95)
COVENANT CHRISTIAN (372): Walstra 87, Wondaal 90, DeJong 95, Peterson 100
WINAMAC (384): Jaxon Roudebush (43-44) 87, Shaun Pratt (48-47) 95, Jaden Terry (50-49) 99, Trent Fox (50-53) 103, (Brayden Lynch (50-59) 109)
SOUTH NEWTON (392): Montemayer 93, Tebo 96, Whaley 98, Kindig 105, (Fausset 108)
PIONEER (396): Zane Lucy (40-48) 88, Zac Taylor (42-51) 93, Wes Hopkins (50-53) 103, Jaden Seward (57-55) 112, (Joseph Mersch (61-61) 122)
CASTON (418): A.J. Dague (44-42) 86, Colby Pugh (57-52) 109, Dean Sylvain (51-58) 109, Dominic Hersemann (50-64) 114, (Marshall Finke (61-56) 117)
TRI-COUNTY (471): Wilson 107, Jordan 121, Misch 121, Smith 122, (Schemerhorn 133)
NORTH NEWTON: Bultema 120
Top three individuals on non-advancing teams: Zachary Hillan (Rensselaer) – 80, Zach Geleott (Rensselaer) – 82, Hayden Myers (Kankakee Valley) – 82
Medalist: Reece Renie (Rochester)