MONTGOMERY — Although it has been a few years since the Washington Hatchet golf team has played at the Regional, they should be familiar with things once they get there.
The Hatchets and Washington Catholic's Brock Craney have the advantage of playing their home course as the Regional will be held at Country Oaks on Thursday.
The Hatchets qualified for regional with a second place finish at Vincennes, shooting a solid 218 and only missing out on the big prize of winning the sectional by one stroke.
Brock Craney, now a Vincennes University recruit, will be at Regional for the second time. Craney was assured a spot at Regional with a 79 at the Vincennes Sectional, but had to go through a one-hole playoff to determine whether he would be going as a No.2 or No.3.
"Last year I learned how to deal with the pressure. This year I know I'm meant to be here and it's in my control, I will deal with that," said Craney. "Early in the practice rounds, I figured out that my putting is going to keep me low and my irons will keep me on the greens, so I'm ready to go.
"I'm trying to come out and play at about the same time my tee time will be and play as much as I can. I think last year was good experience and hopefully I can get it done."
Washington has been led all season by Zach Gray, a sophomore who shot an impressive 74 on Friday. Gray was also the Big 8 medalist.
"I think I met my goal at sectional, I shot 71 over there earlier, but I thought I would shoot right around 74," said Gray.
"I know it is longer at regional, but I'm not going to be fixated on that. I feel like I have played this course a lot from the blues (tees), and have done pretty well. I'd like to shoot around 76-77 and I think that will be close to getting out."
Coach Trey Miller is pleased with how Gray is developing as just a sophomore.
"He has worked so hard on his game. His course management is very good and he will just keep getting better," said Miller. "Managing the golf course will be the key for us."
Joining Gray will be senior Zane Meinhart, junior Brock Melton, sophomore Dom DePass and freshman Simon Parsons.
"Zane has come so far in his four years. He was shooting in the 100s back then and is capable of shooting in the mid-70s now. Dom is very, very long, in fact his length hurts him sometimes, he, and everyone else, needs have discipline on the course and if he does, he will do well on Thursday," said Miller.
"Brock Melton hasn't even touched on his capabilities and how good he will be. For him, if he is willing to put in the work, the sky is the limit. Simon is a freshman, he is new to us this year, and he has been steady also season."
Miller not only has to prepare his team for Regional, he also has to prepare the course, as general manager at Country Oaks.
"This is the first time in three years we have had anyone (from Washington) as a player or team participate, so we will be busy," said Miller. "The course will play about 6,700 yards. I think the two places that you will see the biggest difference is No. 12 and 13. On 12 we have moved the tees back about 100 yards, making it a true par 5, and on 13 we have new tees about 75 yards back, making that a difficult green to drive.
"We will be ready. We have a great staff and we have done this before," Miller added.
Feeding into the Country Oaks regional will be sectionals from Attica, Evansville Mater Dei, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Linton-Stockton, Martinsville and Vincennes Lincoln.
Miller said there will be some excellent teams coming on Thursday.
"Castle, Mater Dei and Evansville North put up fantastic numbers at Helfrich Hills. Greencastle should be a fun team to watch and they are playing with us."
The state finals will will held at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel, on Tuesday, June 11, and Wednesday, June 12.