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  • Val T.

Rochester takes 4th, Valley 5th at Warsaw Invite

Miller leads Valley with 76; McLochlin cards 79 for Zebras


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Greg Miller


WARSAW — Even when Tippecanoe Valley Greg Miller is a little erratic off the tee, he is still one of the area’s best golfers.

And even though Greg Miller is one of the area’s best golfers, Rochester matched Valley stroke for stroke at the Warsaw Invitational at Rozella Ford Golf Club Tuesday.

Rochester shot a 344 and finished fourth out of 10 teams. Valley shot a 345 and placed fifth.

J.R. McLochlin led Rochester with a 79. Drew Strasser had an 83, Noah Riffle had an 85, and Robert Bozzo had a 97. Wes Meadows was disqualified.

Miller shot a 76 – he had matching 38s on the front and back nine – to lead Valley. Wes Parker added an 85, Eli Love had an 88, Nash Bouse had a 96, and Ethan Young had a 99. Extra player Nolan Cumberland carded a 107.

Miller finished in a three-way tie with NorthWood’s Earl Williams and Southwood’s Griffin Chambers for the lowest score. Play ended around 8:45 p.m., and since it was too dark to play a sudden death playoff, Williams was declared the medalist because he recorded the lowest scores on the two most difficult holes on the course.

Warsaw won the tournament with a 326, which was 12 strokes fewer than runner-up NorthWood.

This was the only time Rochester and Valley will get to play at Rozella Ford before the Three Rivers Conference tournament, which Rozella Ford will host on May 13. Among other TRC teams in the field, Southwood was sixth with a 360, and Peru was eighth with a 384.

Rochester was coming off a 358 and an 18th-place showing at the Hall of Fame Invitational at Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru on Saturday.

Rochester first-year coach Mason Heyde said it is hard to compare the two rounds.

“Apples and oranges,” Heyde said. “We played pretty well tonight. We scored (14) strokes better. This is a much, much easier course. Lower part to begin with was playing … probably 700 yards shorter. Almost no water. There’s little creeks on this that are only five yards wide where Rock has a bunch of hazards and a lot of bunkers and stuff like that. … Overall, they were hitting the ball pretty well today. You just don’t get really hurt with bad shots like you do at Rock.”

McLochlin was coming off a 94 at Rock Hollow.

“He was just keeping his head in it,” Heyde said.

As for Miller, coach Darren Parker said he can take risks with his driver given his length off the tee and given Rozella Ford’s few water hazards and bunkers.

“Greg Miller is set as a number one,” coach Parker said. “He wants to go out and be that guy. The other four spots, I’m willing to move guys around. I’d rather find spots where guys are comfortable. I think here in the next week or two, that’s something we might play with a little bit just to see if we can find those comfort zones for those guys.”

Valley also will play their sectional at Rozella Ford on June 2.

“That’s the main reason we asked to get in this tournament,” Parker said. “It’s a lot different than Round Barn. It’s all about greens. So getting to play out here a couple times before then is important.”

Tournament notes

  • Heyde said he plans to take the team to Rozella Ford on May 12 for a practice round. Rochester students do not have school that day.

  • Heyde said there is about a 1.7-stroke difference between the players ranked No. 4 through No. 7 on the roster. He said he spent much of his time Tuesday watching candidates for that spot as he tries to decide who will hold down the spots after Riffle, McLochlin and Strasser on the varsity. Heyde said he will look at a five-round average when deciding the final two spots.

  • Heyde was asked why Meadows was disqualified.

“We didn’t get to post a score for him,” Heyde said. “There was a discrepancy on his scorecard that was signed, so we didn’t get to post that score. That ended as a DQ.”

  • Parker was asked about the challenges of club selection at Rozella Ford. He said it was important, but it was hard to tell because of the chilly weather. Temperatures were in the mid-40s at tee time and figure to be about 25 degrees warmer when they return for the TRC.

“I thought that came into play a lot, and I honestly don’t know how much we learned because of the weather today,” Parker said. “Just into wind, the cold, the ball did not travel as far as it normally does. But … a lot of elevated greens. You have to club up quite a bit on second shots here. It’s something we’ll talk about.”

Warsaw Invitational

at Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw, Tuesday (par 71)

Warsaw 326, NorthWood 338, Plymouth 342, ROCHESTER 344, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 345, Southwood 360, Fort Wayne Canterbury 367, Peru 384, Triton 402, Morgan Township 430

ROCHESTER (344): J.R. McLochlin (39-40) 79, Drew Strasser (40-43) 83, Noah Riffle (40-45) 85, Robert Bozzo (51-46) 97, (Wes Meadows DQ)

VALLEY (345): Greg Miller (38-38) 76, Wes Parker (42-43) 85, Eli Love (43-45) 88, Nash Bouse (47-49) 96, (Ethan Young (51-48) 99)

Medalist: Earl Williams (NorthWood) – 76


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