Rochester’s McLochlin’s season ends at regional after 92
Updated: Jun 13
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DEMOTTE — Rochester sophomore J.R. McLochlin continues to work on both the technical and emotional sides of golf.
It’s something of a work in progress, and since he’s a sophomore, Rochester coach Dan Bailey believes that McLochlin is somewhere in the middle of that work in progress.
Playing as an individual, McLochlin shot a 92 at the Lake Central regional at Sandy Pines Golf Club to end his season Thursday. McLochlin shot a 48 on the front nine and 44 on the back nine.
Zionsville’s Adam Melliere (72), Chesterton’s Owen Pilaski (73), Carmel’s Owen Sander (75) and the Crown Point duo of Isaac Embry (76) and Ray Filter (77) had the five lowest scores among players on non-advancing teams.
Westfield won the regional with a 299. Guerin Catholic (300) and Valparaiso (313) finished second and third, respectively, and also advanced to state.
Guerin Catholic’s Jacob Modleski shot a 69 and earned medalist honors.
Temperatures were comfortable in the mid 70s with only slight wispy clouds and no strong wind. Still, even in pleasant conditions, Sandy Pines can defend itself with copious bunkers, multiple water hazards and pin placements that seemingly punished players that dared to be aggressive.
“These greens are very difficult if you’re not in the right spot,” Bailey said.
McLochlin’s round included two pars. He parred the par-4 12th hole after a nice lag putt from over 30 feet set him up for a tap-in. He also parred the par-4 16th hole after a chip from just off the green for birdie clanked off the flag stick for birdie to leave him with another tap-in for par.
McLochlin also said he had a technical issue with his swing. He said he kept leaving his club face open, and as a result, his shots tended to go to the right of where he wanted.
“My ball striking wasn’t that good today honestly,” McLochlin said. “I was just trying to find my way around the course today, and it was a bit of a struggle. But I was trying to get the ball on the green and just trying to keep it in play.”
Bailey said McLochlin’s ball striking was better in a practice round Wednesday.
“Today he just wasn’t making square contact,” Bailey said. “He was a little open face, so he was losing a little yardage and losing the ball right a little bit. So today wasn’t as good as it has been.”
McLochlin rated the bunkers a “zero out of 10” in terms of difficulty and added that he would love to have bunkers like them at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek in Rochester.
He said there were not an “obsessive” amount of bunkers, but they were noticeable.
“It’s called Sandy Pines for a reason,” McLochlin quipped.
Said Bailey: “They’re meant to be a hazard, and they’re meant to be difficult. But they’re very well manicured, and for someone who knows how to play out of the bunkers, they’re very manageable. Unfortunately, J.R. was in several today, but he managed them very well.”
Though McLochlin yanked his cap off after a double-bogey on No. 15, a dogleg-to-the-right par-5 where the green was protected by both a pond and a bunker, Bailey said this was progress for McLochlin in dealing with his frustrations.
“The biggest thing I saw from J.R. today was probably the most important thing I’ve ever seen from him, (which) was managing frustration,” Bailey said. “We came here 24 hours ago, and he hit it really well and to show up the very next day and just not it very well, for a young kid, that’s going to be very frustrating.
“And he managed himself very well. I was really proud of how his frustration never got the best of him. He never acted out. He represented himself and his school really well. So that to me is a really important thing because this sport is very frustrating, and if you don’t manage that frustration very well, it just gets worse. I’ve never seen anybody get really mad and play good golf.”
McLochlin acknowledged that maintaining his emotions is an issue.
“I think I definitely learned a new skill, and that’s not getting too frustrated in a round,” McLochlin said. “But honestly, today I was kind of having more fun than I was focused on score. Just because I wasn’t hitting the ball as great, but I was just having fun with it.”
McLochlin said he wanted to work on his iron play this summer.
“What I am probably going to work on more is iron shots,” McLochlin said. “Iron plays a key role in golf, and if you can get your iron shots to stick really close, odds are you’re making birdies and pars, unlike me today.”
Boys golf regional notes
This was the last year of the current IHSAA format with five regionals and the top three teams and top five individuals on non-advancing teams advancing to the state finals.
Starting in 2022-23, the state tournament will have six regionals. Therefore, 18 teams will make state instead of the current 15, but the IHSAA will take just the top two individuals on non-advancing teams.
Overall, 102 golfers will make the state finals instead of the current 100.
The Rochester boys last made state in 2006. In that year, there were seven regionals and 21 teams made state.
The spring 2012 season was the last with seven regionals. The IHSAA went to five regionals the following year.
The IHSAA has not indicated where it will place the sixth regional for either the girls or boys state tournaments.
“If it becomes a situation where the state takes more teams and fewer individuals, then I think that’s something that maybe hurts a smaller school just because smaller schools tend not to have perennial teams that have five players that are shooting great scores,” Bailey said. “It will be interesting to see how it pans out when they get that other regional added.
“I always fight for the smaller school in every one of those situations, and those aren’t always the schools that get listened to. Fortunately, coming up in the next couple of years, we’ve got a good group of varsity players coming back. … I would just like to see a more level playing field for the big ones and the small ones.”
Carmel was fifth with a 320. They did not make the state finals for the first time since 2016. Carmel, the largest school in the state by enrollment, has 5,327 students.
LaCrosse was 18th with a 415. LaCrosse has a listed enrollment of 111.
Of the 108 golfers that teed off, 23 posted scores of 100 or higher.
Lake Central boys golf regional results
at Sandy Pines Golf Club, DeMotte, Thursday (par 72)
Westfield 299, Guerin Catholic 300, Valparaiso 313, Chesterton 319, Carmel 320, Crown Point 321, Faith Christian 338, Twin Lakes 344, Munster 345, West Lafayette 349, Boone Grove 352, Lake Central 359, Rensselaer 362, New Prairie 367, Harrison (West Lafayette) 377, LaPorte 391, Logansport 394, Lacrosse 415
WESTFIELD (299): J. Cesare 72, Harvey 73, A. Cesare 74, Kooi 80, (Hill 82)
GUERIN CATHOLIC (300): Modleski 69, McNeely 74, Wessel 74, Thieme 83, (Smith 84)
VALPARAISO (313): Gutierrez 70, Politza 72, Hudson 82, Danzi 89, (Utesch 94)
CHESTERTON (319): Pilarski 73, Fisher 78, Scott 80, Smith 88, (Bakaitis 94)
CARMEL (320): Sander 75, Armfield 78, Fujita 83, Michael 84, (Jones 91)
CROWN POINT (321): Embry 76, Filter 77, Wool 81, Gozo 87, (Carraher 97)
FAITH CHRISTIAN (338): Peter 84, Patton 84, Valiant 84, Gerber 86, (Carter 94)
TWIN LAKES (344): Ousley 79, Dellinger 81, Alexander 90, Hubbard 94, (Kyser 105)
MUNSTER (345): Siurek 84, Landmesser 84, Mulcahy 87, Stojkovich 90, (Linnane 100)
WEST LAFAYETTE (349): Bauman 84, Mariner 84, Greene 89, Wrede 92, (Zink 95)
BOONE GROVE (352): Knight 83, Neis 85, Bills 87, Lukas 97, (Anderson 105)
LAKE CENTRAL (359): Jaksich 80, Morton 88, L. Darak 92, S. Darak 99, (Robinson 99)
RENSSELAER (362): Odle 88, Geleott 90, Hillan 92, Risner 92, (Henning 97)
NEW PRAIRIE (367): Shelton 85, Zdyb 89, Goodman 96, Henning 97, (Farmer 103)
HARRISON (377): Larson 86, McBride 96, Bunger 97, Plattner 98, (Loop 113)
LAPORTE (391): Sittig 84, Taylor 98, Menke 100, Holmes 109, (Wolf 115)
LOGANSPORT (394): Vietti 89, Lange 92, Blair 103, Higgins 110, (Crook 114)
LACROSSE (415): Garwood 100, Gorski 103, Koselke 104, I. Doms 108, (N. Doms 110)
Participating as individuals: Cover (Hobart) 103, Peterson (Covenant Christian (DeMotte)) 114, Dick (Carroll (Flora)) 85, Meyer (Lebanon) 78, Brooks (Michigan City) 101, Raab (Highland) 88, Servey-Brooks (Portage) 111, J.R. McLochlin (Rochester) 92, Nelson (Delphi) 91, Orbaugh (Zionsville) 83, Minix (North Judson) 91, DiTola (Andrean) 106, Hufford (Portage) 110, Andree (Kankakee Valley) 85, Seaburg (Lafayette Central Catholic) 89, Melliere (Zionsville) 72, Haschel (South Central (Union Mills)) 94, Kost (Andrean) 91