ANDERSON — Pendleton Heights golfer Colin Proctor had a short-lived sophomore season.
A back injury he sustained playing basketball t took him out of all but the last few weeks of his second season playing varsity golf for Pendleton Heights, and once he made it back, he wasn’t the same.
His team finished sixth in sectionals and Proctor bowed out at regionals as an individual, failing to make it back to the state meet where he had gained experience as a freshman.
Yet with just over a single season of high school golf under his belt, Proctor was thrown into the leadership role on a junior-heavy varsity squad, leading them to Pendleton’s first team appearance at the state meet since 1935 where they placed 10th with a two-day team score of 32-over par.
But rather than being an extremely vocal leader, Proctor’s coach, Jim Phillips, said his junior star did it simply with how he carried himself. Proctor led by example, he said.
“I think he kinda took over the leadership role this year of the team,” Phillips said. “I think he kinda pushed some of the other kids a little bit, not so much about what he said but just seeing him out there working on his game chipping and putting when everybody else was leaving.
“He was more so an example rather than telling them to do more.”
Proctor said that although he managed to go to every single meet during his sophomore season to cheer his teammates on, being out on the course and able to control the outcome of the shots with his clubs rather than his energy and advice as a spectator was incomparable.
“I just felt a lot closer to everyone,” Proctor said. “I felt like I had a lot more support this year because I was actually playing.
“It was different and obviously it was a lot more fun to be able to play and actually help the team instead of just supporting them.”
And being closer to his teammates allowed Proctor to have a bigger impact on the team, Phillips said.
“I think his attitude or his willingness to help other kids on the team or just his overall team aspect or team thoughts were better this year,” Phillips said. “He was more concerned with what other players on the course were doing, what his teammates were doing, how they were playing and how the team was doing more so a lot of times than how he was playing.”
Along with his team-first attitude, Phillips said Proctor’s ball striking made large improvements, making him “one of the longer high school golfers you’ll run into” but his short game managed to hold him back at some of the most important rounds of the season: the state finals.
Phillips clarified that he wasn’t at all disappointed in Proctor’s performance at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., but he knows he needs to get his confidence back around the greens in order to have the impact necessary for the Arabians to make another state title run for Proctor’s senior season.
“He’s kinda key for us,” Phillips said. “He needs to be a leader. He needs to lead by example. I’m sure his goals coming back next year will be high, and he needs to pull some of the other kids along with him to reach a higher goal.”
Proctor said he knows he can’t play like he did at state in order to help his team make a run at clinching a state title next season, but he’s got nearly a year to work, and he said he’ll be ready.
“I played two really bad rounds out there,” Proctor said. “As a team, you can’t have your best player go out there and shoot 74 and 74 and expect to contend. Next year, I’m just going to keep working on my short game cause that’s the most important part of the game.”
All HB Boys Golf Team Colin Proctor, Pendleton Hts. Tyler Meyer, Pendleton Hts. Trevor Denney, Pendleton Hts. Rylan Denney, Pendleton Hts. Zach Forrer, Pendleton Hts. Tanner Watkins, Lapel Honorable Mention Caleb Brown, Lapel Mitchell Richardson, Lapel Ryan Farmer, Shenandoah