Golf is a game in which a few strokes can decide the outcome. The battle between Crawfordsville and Southmont on the course this season has been one of the best story lines of the spring season.
To begin the golf season the two county rivals tied at the Danville Invite with a 349. Crawfordsville would best the Mounties at the Southmont Invite by four strokes winning 343-347. At the Sagamore Conference meet it was the Mounties turn to best the Athenians by a single stroke, beating CHS 347-348.
The stage had been set for Tuesday’s county golf meet at the Crawfordsville Municipal Golf Course as not only would a county champion be crowned but, whoever placed higher would walk away with the Journal Review’s annual Montgomery County Chase Championship.
Before the match had even started, CHS would be faced with adversity as their No. 2 golfer in senior Landon Timmons would be forced to miss the meet with an injury. Add more adversity for CHS as about half-way through Marshall Horton had to withdraw leaving the Athenians with just four healthy golfers. However Crawfordsville didn’t back down from the challenge and when the final scores were tallied would get the better of the Mounties again by just two strokes as the Athenians captured the county title with a 347-349. North Montgomery would place third with a 374. The victory for the Athenians also gave them their first ever County Chase Title in school history.
The hero of evening for CHS was freshman Tanner Gilland who earned medalist honors by shooting a 73. Luke Ranard shot a 78 while Hayden Jeffries carded a 92 and Landon Hurt rounded out the scoring with a 104.
“When we got to the course today I still told our guys that we came here to win,” Crawfordsville coach Tom Perkins said. “I can’t begin to say enough about Tanner Gilland’s performance today. As a freshman he leads us with a 73. Luke was just Mr. consistent with 39’s on both the back and front. I told the guys in our post-match huddle that I’m rarely speechless, but they left me without many words. It was just an all-around tremendous team effort and I can’t be more proud of this bunch.”
The County Chase title now belongs to Crawfordsville as they edge out Southmont by scoring 52 total points compared the Mounties 51. Perkins took some time to note what it means to his team that they were the ones who secured the Chase title for the first time in school history.
“It speaks well for the entire athletic department,” Perkins said of the county chase title. “It wasn’t just us, everyone pitched in this year and it took a school-wide effort for Crawfordsville to get this done. For three sports season’s to come down to a single match at the end, I’m just proud of my school for being able to pull it off for the first time.”
Southmont was led by Luke Tesmer who shot an 83. Harrison Haddock was second-best for the Mounties with an 86. Junior Nolan Allen shot an 87 and Ty Elles rounded out the scoring for the Mounties with a 93.
The goal that Southmont coach Bill Whalen had set for his team coming in was a 340. Afterwards Whalen voiced his thoughts on the second place finish.
“It was frustrating when they’re (Crawfordsville) are missing one of their top players and we still can’t beat them,” Whalen said. “We haven’t had a fourth score below 90 all year and that’s what’s killing us. Nolan who normally shoots in the upper 70’s and around 80 shot an 87. All around there’s no excuses for why we played poorly, Crawfordsville just beat us tonight. I know my guys don’t like how they shot and it simply comes down to just playing better.”
The Mounties will now have two days to prepare for the sectional on Friday which will take place at Harrison Hills in Attica. Whalen knows it’s do or die on Friday as the Mounties will look to rebound and advance again as a team.
“We’ll see what they’re made of on Friday especially after losing county by just two strokes,” he said. “I was just disappointed in our play tonight. We shot a 164 on the front which is one of our best scores all season, then just fall apart on the back.”
Freshman Neal Jeffrey led the Chargers with an 88 at the county meet. Drew Norman shot a 91 while Hayden Turner carded a 94. Haze Kashon rounded out the scoring for the Chargers with a 101.
The Chargers up until Tuesday evening had been playing some of their best golf of the season and looked to be in the mix for the county title after shooting a 356 at the Conference Meet and a 177 last week. However it just wasn’t in the cards for the Chargers on Tuesday as Charger coach Bob Ryker explains.
“I think the heat did play a little bit of a factor tonight,” the first-year coach said. “Some of the kids on the course weren’t feeling the greatest and one of our kids had to withdraw because of it. Everyone gets excited for county, but for us the real act begins on Friday at the sectional. That’s what the team and I are looking forward to. We have a shot if we play well to get out so we’ll see what happens.”
To qualify out of the sectional on Friday at Harrison Hills teams need to place in the top 3. Also the top three individuals from non-advancing teams will also qualify for the Regional.
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