FRANKLIN — The Floyd Central boys’ golf team struggled through the first nine holes of the course at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club in Franklin on Wednesday, but composed itself enough on the back nine to earn a fifth-place finish at the IHSAA State Championship Meet.
“We got off to a really, really bad start on the front nine,” Floyd Central coach Mike Cason said. “We had some double bogeys and some higher numbers, so we just started really bad. And then after we got going, we played pretty well.”
Two of the five Highlanders turned in quality scores, with Daniel Shepard leading the way with an even-par 72, while senior Austin Peckham carded a 73.
“They played really, really good,” Cason said, “and if we had gotten anything else from anybody, we would have been in pretty good shape.”
But Jay Holderman, Jack Sparrow and Devin Jenkins weren’t as fortunate. The hard luck translated to Floyd Central’s Day 2 score of 313, giving the Highlanders a 621 for the tournament.
The trouble started with Holderman, who was in the first threesome on the course. Holderman misfired with a double bogey on the par-5 No. 2 and a bogey on the next hole. After carding pars the next two holes, disaster struck on the par-5 No. 6, where the senior booted it around for a nine.
“I hit it [out of bounds] left, and then I shot right and hit it in the hazard,” Holderman said. “I had to drop, and it was just a mess today.”
Things didn’t get any better on the next hole, where Holderman carded another double bogey. He finished the front nine 10 over par, but pulled out of the tailspin on the back for an 85 on the day.
It was a similar story for Jenkins, who was plus-11 after the front nine, and Sparrow, who bogeyed seven of the first nine holes.
Cason was without an answer for why the front nine was so tough for his squad.
“If I could tell you that, I’d make a million dollars,” Cason said. “I couldn’t put my finger on it.”
It wasn’t just Floyd Central that struggled. Eight of the ten teams remaining turned in second-day scores that were worse than their Day 1 tallies. Only Evansville Harrison and Jasper improved.
Harrison won the tournament with a score of 611, coming all the way back from eighth place with a 300 on the second day. Jasper finished third, finishing with a 615 behind the strength of a 304 on Wednesday.
“The course played tough today, obviously,” Cason said.
Shepard was Floyd Central’s best golfer of the tournament with a two-day score of 147, good for eighth overall among individual players.
The Highlanders say goodbye to two seniors in Holderman and Peckham. Holderman finishes his high school career with a unique distinction.
“He’s played here at the state tournament four years in a row,” Cason said. “He may be the only Floyd Central golfer ever to do that. ... He’s really been a big part of our program the last four years.”
“That’s pretty cool to me,” Holderman said. “I mean, to be here both days all four years is quite an experience. It was emotional for me coming down the last hole, too, just trying to soak it all in. It’s been a blast.”
Holderman will study business and play with Providence’s Bryce Very at IUPUI next year. The two will share a dorm room with two other students.
Peckham plans to study exercise science and play golf at the University of Southern Indiana.
“It’s sad. It’s been a lot of fun, though,” Peckham said of finishing his high school playing days. “During the golf season, you’ve got three or four months where you’re with the guys every single day, and we hang out every single night, basically. It’s more than just a team. It’s like a family.”
As for the Providence duo of Very and Corey Cahalan, both finished tied for 14th in the standings with two-day scores of 152. Very shot a 77 on Wednesday, while Cahalan turned in a second-day score of 79.
IHSAA BOYS’ STATE CHAMPIONSHIP MEET
at The Legends Golf Club, Franklin, par-72
Team scores — Evansville Harrison 611, Brebeuf Jesuit 614, Jasper 615, Columbus North 618, Floyd Central 621, Warsaw 625, Indianapolis Cathedral 625, Carmel 626, Penn 633, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 639.
Floyd Central — Shepard 72, Jenkins 86, Sparrow 83, Peckham 73, Holderman 85.
Providence — Cahalan* 79, Very* 77.
Medalist — Stone (Evansville Harrison) 69.
* — competed in individual tournament