Golf is a fickle game. And some days, its down right cruel.
For the Zionsville boys’ golf team, the opening day of the IHSAA state championship at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin was definitely callous.
Zionsville coach Steve Simmons summed up his team’s day simply. “It was just one of those days, and you just wish it wasn’t on the day of the state finals,” he said.
The Eagles missed the cut on the par 72, 6736-yard course, by shooting a team total of 324, 11 strokes behind the 10th place team, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (313) and beyond the cut line on Tuesday, June 12.
“We teed off in the afternoon and there was a wind factor that the teams in the morning didn’t have to contend with, but that’s not really a good excuse,” Simmons said. “Other teams in the afternoon dealt with the same wind and shot very well.
“We simply caught the worst part of the day.”
Eagles top player, sophomore Adam Wood shot a 78, six over par for the day. Through 13 holes he was just one over with four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey; but would finish his round five over par with a bogey or worse on all but one of the remaining five holes.
“Adam (Wood) got off to an OK start, missed a few putts for birdie early, but the other members in his group got off to a pretty hot start,” Simmons said. “I think he pressed and made some decisions he normally wouldn’t make just trying to keep pace.”
The rest of the team struggled too. Scoring was sophomore Clark Tiller (84), junior Will Dixon (81), sophomore Trent Pancake (84) and junior Clark Mattison (81).
The Legends course was comparably different during the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning was calm, but the afternoon yielded steady winds, an estimated 15-20 mph and gusts up to 25 mph.
“The course’s only defense is the wind, so scores were higher for everyone and we just didn’t handle the conditions they way we would have liked,” Simmons said. “I think we simply got off to a bad start, were trying to catch up and didn’t get it done.”
Simmons was pleased with his team’s effort, but knows inexperience played a factor.
“We just didn’t play to our potential, not for a lack of effort, we are just young and not mentally tough enough,” Simmons said.
Zionsville struggled through the 14th–18th holes, shooting 11 bogeys or worse compared to nine pars and no birdies for 15 over par.
“The last four holes were all playing into the wind and absolutely brutal to get through, and we didn’t play them very well,” Simmons said. “If we would have just hit our (season) averages, we would have easily made the cut and been within the top six, but we didn’t.”
While certainly disappointed in the outcome, Simmons is already looking ahead to next season.
“I feel good about where we are going, where we’re headed,” Simmons said. “I think the experience being there will prepare us a little bit better for next year.
“The good news is that we have all five guys back and hopefully we can come back even stronger.”