ANDERSON — Two years ago, after the Pendleton Heights boys’ golf team took the sectional title at Purgatory Golf Club, led by a medalist finish by then-freshman Colin Proctor, the Arabians failed to make it out of regionals as a team by two strokes.
Proctor tied for fifth as an individual and scored a spot in the state meet the following week, where he missed the cut after the first round.
After taking both the individual medalist title and team title on Monday in the sectional at Purgatory, Pendleton Heights boys’ golf coach Jim Phillips said he thinks his team is primed for a solid round as a team today in the Muncie Central Regional at The Players Club in Yorktown.
Phillips scheduled two meets at the course for his players this season, including the Yorktown Invitational in April and the Muncie Central Invitational just a few weeks ago, in hopes of preparing his players for a likely return to the course in the regional.
The Pendleton Heights coach also took his squad to Yorktown for a practice round Wednesday, where Phillips said he saw a lot of promise in his team’s performance.
“It felt good,” Phillips said. “Everybody played well. I think we’re mentally ready to go, and the weather is supposed to be good tomorrow, so I think we should have a good showing.”
Proctor, who shot a one-under 71 at Purgatory on Monday, including a two-under back nine, said he shot a one-under practice round on Wednesday when he and his teammates took to the course. He said he didn’t feel like he played his best, but as a team, he said Pendleton shot a six-over 294 which would almost certainly qualify them for the two-day state tournament next week in Franklin, at The Legends Golf Club.
“If we go play our best, we shouldn’t have a problem,” Proctor said. “That would be awesome if we got the sectional and regional titles, but the main thing is to advance and then play really well (at state).”
The five Arabians will tee off beginning at 9:20 this morning, ending with Proctor’s tee time of 10 a.m. Pendleton will play alongside players from Richmond, Yorktown and individuals who qualified for the meet themselves after their teams faltered at sectionals, as Proctor did last season before missing a state qualifying spot by three strokes.
Although Proctor has been playing like a favorite to win the medalist title at The Players Club, Phillips said that even if his junior star slips up and has a round similar to his 77 at last year’s regional meet, he thinks the Arabians are strong enough top to bottom to be able to make it to Franklin without a stellar performance from their No. 1 player.
“It’s important for us for Colin to have a good round,” Phillips said. “He’s kinda been our leader all year, so it’s important for us for him to have a good round, but if he’s not on his best game, I think the other guys can still get it out of regionals.”
Two local golfers, though, won’t have their teammates to rely on as they take to the links in Yorktown today. Lapel teammates Tanner Watkins and Mitchell Richardson will be playing in regionals as individuals after making it out of the Noblesville sectional as the first and third-best players on teams who wouldn’t be moving on to regionals.
Watkins shot 77 to tie for fifth place overall among the individuals with a front nine 38 and a back round 39 to qualify as the top individual moving on to regionals.
Richardson carded a 79 with a front nine 40 and back nine 39 to tie for 12th overall, stealing the final regional qualifying spot.