By Nathan Brown
The Herald Bulletin
---- — FRANKLIN — Even after placing third in the Muncie Central regional at The Players Club last Friday, Pendleton Heights boys golf coach Jim Phillips said he felt his squad that won the sectional title earlier that week could be very dangerous at the state meet this week at The Legends Golf Club.
But after 18 holes of the two-day tournament Tuesday, the Arabians all but shot their way out of contention for a team and individual state title.
Pendleton Heights shot a 20-over team score of 308 to put it in 12th place out of 15 teams after the first round. Junior Tyler Meyer led the Arabians with a 75. Senior Rylan Denney followed with a 76. Junior Colin Proctor carded a 78, and sophomore Zach Farrer and junior Trevar Denney each shot 79.
None of Phillips’ players shot terrible rounds, but no one managed to get off to a fast start to keep pace with the likes of Columbus North or Westfield, who sit in first and second at the halfway point with rounds of 290 and 291, respectively.
Through watching bits and pieces of his players’ rounds Tuesday, Phillips felt like tee to green the Arabians played just fine, but the putts just weren’t falling.
“We missed a lot of putts,” Phillips said. “I watched a lot of putts lip out. I don’t think our speed was bad. We just weren’t making any putts. Everything was running by, and with kids and golf, if they make a few putts early, a lot of time it’s a different story, and we just didn’t make them early.”
Phillips added that because of his younger lineup that included one sophomore and just one senior, nerves may have gotten to his players a bit, with only Proctor having any experience at the state tournament level, qualifying as an individual his freshman year before missing the cut after the first day.
Proctor said he was nervous on the first tee, which he didn’t mind, but even he fell victim to short-game woes.
“My short game today was the worst it’s ever been,” Proctor said. “The greens were perfect today, I thought. They’re not hard to read or anything. I just personally didn’t make anything.”
As his teammates were walking to their cars to head back to the hotel, Proctor said he was going to stay around for a few more hours and work on his short game. The junior star hadn’t given up just yet on making an impact on this year’s state tournament.
“My goal for tomorrow is to break the course record,” he said with a chuckle.
Phillips said he thinks his players can play much better and hopefully move up into the top seven or eight teams before tomorrow’s round is over, a finish he said would be solid for the Arabians.
“We’ve only got one way to go, and that’s up,” Phillips said. “We didn’t play very well today. The kids I thought would play really well for us didn’t.”
The Arabians tee off between 9:21 and 9:57 a.m. this morning off the back nine, and live scoring can be found at golfstat.com.