Tigers edge Triton for Warsaw title

WINONA LAKE — Last spring, Triton’s boys golf team lost on a fifth-score tiebreaker to the host Tigers for the championship at the Warsaw Sectional, and the Trojans entered Friday’s 2013 tournament-opener at Stonehenge with hopes of avenging that narrow loss.
They ultimately fell a score short once more, albeit this time without the need for a tiebreaker.
Warsaw edged Triton by a stroke, 314-315 for top team honors, while Columbia City carded 319 to claim the third and final team berth to next Thursday’s regional round of play at Stonehenge.
Culver Military and Plymouth finished on the bubble with respective fourth and fifth-place team scores of 328 and 320, but both squads saw individuals qualify for the regional as CMA’s Ben Sharff carded the low score among players from non-advancing teams with a 74, and Plymouth’s Nate Kolter and Ben Schenk posted competitive scores of 78 and 80 to grab the second and third individual berths out.
Culver Community rounded out the team field with a 444, meanwhile.
While Warsaw got consistent scores from its top five following a nearly one-hour rain delay Friday, Triton struggled in the three, four and five spots as the reigning champs held on for another narrow title win in what has become a rivalry between the 4A sectional hosts and their Class A neighbors in recent years.
The championship represented Warsaw’s fourth in the past five seasons; Triton broke up the streak in 2011 when they beat out the Tigers on a fifth-man score before Warsaw turned the tables on them with their own tiebreak win to get back on top in 2012.
“You like to when you play —obviously winning is great — but have that competitive rivalry with the same schools,” said Warsaw head golf coach Ben Barkey. “For the last nine years we’ve had a competitive rivalry with them. We’ve had a competitive rivalry longer with them than we have with Wawasee, and that says a lot because when I first started like the first four or five years us and Wawasee were going back and forth. That puts things in a lot of perspective for what (Triton head coach) Jack and the Carpenters have done for that program.”
Triton got its usual one-two from DI signees Ryan Rapp and Quentyn Carpenter, who fired off respective scores of 3-under 68 and 1-over 72 for first and third place individually, but couldn’t find another sub-80 score from its top five. Lucas Shafer and Tanner Shepherd carded 87 and 88, respectively, to complete the Trojans’ team score, while freshman Greg Music carded 95 in his first sectional appearance.
“It’s very disappointing, to be honest with you,” said Triton head coach Jack Carpenter. “I’m very, very proud of my one and two. As I’ve told you before I’d put those two kids up against any two kids in the state right now on any team, I don’t care who. But my three, four and five have got to step up. They’ve got to realize that they can’t just ride the coattails of one and two. The further we get into competition the tougher it’s going to be, and right now — I’d like to use a few choice words but I’m not going to — they need to step up. I mean, they need to be men and start playing the way that they’re capable, especially my number three guy.”
“We’re right there as a team; we’re very close,” echoed Quentyn. “Me and Ryan played exceptionally well today, so me and him, we’re getting our job done. We just need some other guys to step up and do it with us.”
While Triton fell short of the team championship, Rapp could console himself with the individual championship Friday.
The Marian University recruit birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12 to set the tone at Stonehenge, then followed up a pair of bogeys with birdies on 8 and 9 to finish strong and hold off the field with his 3-under-par 68 performance.
Rapp’s strong start was made even more exceptional by the fact that not only were the windy, wet conditions less than optimal at the outset, but this year’s tournament opened on the back nine at Stonehenge, which traditionally plays several strokes tougher than the front side.
“When I started off it was pretty windy and rainy, so I kind of had a bad attitude about it just because it was raining and it usually does rain. Once I got through the first hole — that left to right wind was pretty strong — I got a better attitude and realized it was the same for everyone, not just for me,” said Rapp. “I birdied the next three so it was pretty cool. I think it takes pressure off you until the end of the round and you realize how good you’re actually doing and you just don’t want to screw up. But I finished strong with two birdies after two bogeys on the two previous holes.”
“The last half of this season his stroke has just been great,” said Jack Carpenter of Rapp. “He looks so smooth. He’s had some great rounds where he just hasn’t made putts or he could’ve done this earlier. He’s three under through four holes, he birdies his last two to get where he’s at. He’s been the best player for the team the last month easily. Quentyn’s right there, but it’s a great competition they have, the camaraderie they have; they push each other and yet they support each other.”
Thursday’s finish was particularly disappointing for CMA, which finished a full 10 strokes better than the 2012 tally that earned the Eagles a top three team regional berth last season.
The upside is that team will have at least has one golfer representing it next Thursday after Sharff’s career-low 74, however. He was followed Friday by John Connelly’s 81, Zach Allyn’s 86 and dual 87s from Davis Payne and Santiago Fernandez.
“All year we’ve been plagued by some big numbers where some kids hit some errant shots, and out here you just can’t do that. It’s too severe with the high grass. We just had too many holes again where we had double bogeys, triple bogeys or worse, and you just can’t do that and expect to get out,” said CMA head coach Fred Haase.
“Ben Sharff, my number two, had 39, 35 so that’s the best round he’s ever shot. And he had a couple double bogeys during the round too, but he’s happy and I’m happy he made it out. I was hopeful he would. He’s playing solid golf right now, so we’ll see what happens next week.”
Plymouth head coach Ben Waymouth felt handicapped before Friday’s round even started as the Pilgrims were seeded in the second flight despite coming off a top flight-worthy season-low of 314 for the Lancer Invitational championship last Saturday.
Pre-tournament jitters and the hour-long holdover due to lightning added to the team’s woes as it posted a score that would have made the cut out last year and was just two strokes off of the team’s goal headed into Friday.
“When you get in the sectionals, what you want is to play in that final flight. When you submit scores they seed you based on your numbers, and we’ve gotten seeded the last several years in the second to last flight,” said Waymouth. “What you have to do is play better than the average that you submit as a score, and unfortunately they want our scores two weeks prior to the event. That makes it a little tough if your team is like mine this year, and we shoot 314 last Saturday for our best score of the year. I can’t submit that score because it’s already locked in. Just the way that the set-up is and when the deadlines are this year gave us a disadvantage, but it is what it is.”
Junior Kolter’s and sophomore Schenk’s rounds of 78 and 80 did make for a decent consolation prize, however, and the duo survive to the next round of play Thursday.
“We’ve got two individuals coming back in Nate Kolter and Ben Schenk,” Waymouth said. “Both are underclassmen; both are returning next year. They have aspirations, and I want them to have that. They’re those kind of players. They’ve had some good rounds this season, and today was not their best, but it’s a decent round for them.
“They’re definitely kind of flying under the course radar as far as regional competition goes.”
Culver Community closed out the year with a 444 at Friday’s tourney, meanwhile, led by Trent Elliott’s 83. Cody Peterson shot 117, Tristan Schultz came in at 115, Kenny VanDePutte carded a 129, and Tevin Jones finished up in 144 for the Cavs.
Friday’s sectional advancers will face off again at next Thursday’s Warsaw Regional against a field that includes qualifiers from South Bend Riley, Peru, Fort Wayne Canterbury, Fairfield and East Noble.
Once again, the top three teams and top three individuals among non-advancing teams survive to the next round of play, the state finals at The Legends of Indiana in Franklin June 11. With this year’s regional relocated from Beechwood to Stonehenge, Triton is hoping it can parlay its course familiarity into just the program’s second team state berth after it’s first and only trip so far in 2010.
“We’re right there. I feel like we can beat Warsaw,” Quentyn said. “Even though this is their home course we play out here a lot too. We’ve proven we definitely can hang with them, so we just need to get over the hump. Regional will be tough, but I’m glad we’re going again.”
“It’s obviously going to help us. We have three kids that are members here and play so you know it’s to our advantage obviously,” said Jack Carpenter. “We’ll play every day and hit balls. For the team I have this year it’s going to be a very comforting feeling because when we’ve gone to Fort Wayne I have two kids that have never played there before, so I’m looking forward to it.”
At Stonehenge Golf Club (Par 71)
Team scores: 1. Warsaw 314, 2. Triton 315, 3. Columbia City 319, 4. Culver Academies 328, 5. Plymouth 330, 6. Huntington North 338, 7. Northfield 348, 8. Whitko 350, 9. Tippecanoe Valley 356, 10. Lakeland Christian 396, 11. Churubusco 399, 12. Manchester 417, 13. Culver Community 444.
Low medalist: Ryan Rapp (T) 68
Individuals advancing without a team summary: 1. Ben Sharff (CMA) 74, 2. Nate Kolter (P) 78, 3. Ben Schenk (P) 80.
TRITON (315): Quentyn Carpenter 72, Ryan Rapp 68, Tanner Shepherd 88, Lucas Shafer 87, Greg Music 95.
CMA (328): John Connelly 81, Ben Sharff 74, Davis Payne 87, Zach Allyn 86, Santiago Fernandez 87.
PLYMOUTH (330): Nate Kolter 78, Ben Schenk 80, Zach Craft 87, Kurt Corsbie 85, Reis Yoder 87.
CULVER (444): Trent Elliott 83, Cody Peterson 117, Tristan Schultz 115, Kenny VanDePutte 129, Tevin Jones 144.