By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald
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.
Team and individual scoring
Bloomington South (330)
Ben Dawson 79, Nick Elliott 82, Sam Karcher 83, Zach Walters 86, Nicki Burris 93.
Washington Black (333)
Clay Hatton 80, Cam Lancaster 82, Connor Brown 84, Tyler Stoll 87, Andy Garland 100.
Nathan Pirtle 76, Colt Kuppler 84, Luke Willis 87, Stone Jackson 87, Jace Moody 93.
Clayton French 75, Koye Kaiser 78, Cole Bradbury 87, Paul Goodman 94, Evan Sippes 97.
South Spencer (337)
Samuel Hays 82, Tyler Forston 83, Joe Davis 86, Austin Enright 86, Adam Roth 86.
Springs Valley (352)
Carrolton Orr 86, Chance Kellams 87, Hunter Whitaker 89, Matt Hollis 90, Cole Burton 92.
Evansville Day (362)
Austin Carmack 76, John Grimm 85, Alec Bushon 89, Dan Grimm 92, Ray Christian 92.
Evansville Mater Dei (362)
Alex Schoettlin 85, Jacob Hoefling 91, Drew Winiger 92, Craig Wilmas 94, Matt Devault 105.
Evansville Central (380)
Dylan Meyer 72, Nate Phelps 95, Austin VanBriston 98, Jacob Albin 115, Brandon Hunt 118.
Washington Gold (388)
Devan Rude 87, Sam WIlliams 88, Derek Gress 98, Austin Ghirardelli 115, Ben Gaither 119.
Washington Catholic (431)
Ethan Wichman 93, Brandon Strange 111, AJ Sellers 112, Brian Brown 115, Jon Mitchell 119.