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April 17, 2013

Washington second at Country Oaks

MONTGOMERY — The wind was strong, the grass was damp, temperatures were a bit cool, but the competition was close and warm at Country Oaks Gold Club Saturday.

Clay Hatton shot 80 to pace Washington Black to a second place finish in the 11-team Washington Catholic Invitational.

“Nice round for Clay today,” Washington coach Bill Ricke said. “He’s been real steady for us.”

Hatton’s round helped Washington Black to a 333 team score, that finished three shots behind team winner Bloomington South.

“This was a real good tournament for us,” Ricke said. “It’s one of the best tournament finishes for us in a long time. I’m very encouraged. It was a real good job. It was hard to make good clean contact with the ball with the conditions.”

Ben Dawson shot 79 to lead the Panthers to the team win in an event that took on additional importance to the participants after the IHSAA awarded the boys regional back to Country Oaks.

Hulman Links in Terre Haute had been awarded the regional, but officials decided to move the event back to Country Oaks late last week.

High School invitationals at the Oaks have always been important to area teams hoping to advance from sectionals to the regional.

The course time is considered to be important throughout the season.

“We’ve very happy to have the regional back at Country Oaks,” Ricke said. “I think most of the teams coming here will agree.”

Seven shots separated the top seven teams in the event. Sullivan and Linton both shot 334, with South Spencer seven shots behind at 337.

Springs Valley 352, Evansville Day and Evansville Mater Dei both shot 362, Evansville Central finished at 380, Washington Gold shot 388 and Washington Catholic 431.

“This was a good field,” Ricke said. “It was really balanced when you look at the scoreboard. It’s really tight at the top. There are times when it is not, but it’s pretty deep.”

Cam Lancaster shot 82 for Washington Black, Connor Brown 84, Tyler Stoll 87 and Andy Garland 100.

“Cam had a very nice round,” Ricke said. “Connor had his best round of the season as a freshman. That’s really good. Ty Stoll held it together. Our ball striking was good.”

Ethan Wichman recorded a 93 for the Cardinals, Brandon Strange 111, AJ Sellers 112, Brian Brown 115 and Jon Mitchell 119.

“We had a bit of a rough outing,” Washington Catholic coach Morris Petty said. “Ethan hit the ball pretty well, but he just had a few bad holes. Brandon had some good holes, but some bad ones as well. AJ has actually improved the most. He has not played before this season, and he’s hitting the ball about as well as anyone except for Ethan. We are going to try to keep working the rest of the season and see what happens.”

Evansville Central’s Dylan took medalist honors with a round of 72.

He was followed by Linton’s Clayton Fensh (75) and rounds of 76 from Sullivan’s Nathan Pirtle and Evansville Day’s Austin Carmack.

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