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Ross narrowly misses state berth with 76

PANTHER: Eastbrook’s Noah Ross watches as one of his playing partners in the Muncie Central Regional prepares to putt on the 18th green at Players Club in Yorktown on Thursday. Ross fired a 76 and just missed earning a trip to the state finals.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

YORKTOWN — Golf can sometimes be the cruelest of games, and one tough hole cost Eastbrook senior Noah Ross a chance to compete in the state finals next week at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.

Ross fired a four-over par 76 Thursday at the Players Club in the Muncie Central Regional, low round for any of the seven Grant County golfers in the field. But a triple-bogey, 6, on the par-three 13th hole left him one shot short of being in a three-way playoff for the fifth individual qualifying spot reserved for players not on an advancing team.

“I started birdie-birdie so it was good start and came in the front nine 36 (even par),” Ross said. “I started off decent on the back then had a triple on hole 13 and was even par the rest of the round. That really was the hole that sort of knocked me out of it. Other than that I played pretty well today.

Ross said his tee shot sailed left of the green on the 13th, then two chip shots and three putts later he found himself battling the course and the field for one of the five individual qualifying spots.

“It was kind of train wreck,” he said of the 13th. “I recovered pretty well after that but it wasn’t quite enough.”

Oak Hill senior Blake LeFavour was also in the mix for a state berth, but bogeys on 16th and 17th holes, both par fours, led to him shooting a 77. The round was 11 shots better than he shot at the Muncie Central Invitational at Players Club on May 18.  

“I just came out trying to get my putter working. I missed two three footers, but other than that I did exactly what I wanted to do today,” LeFavour said. “I didn’t put myself in position in fairways to score as well as I could have and that’s what hurt me the most. I left myself some long putts I had to lag to the hole and I did a good job in lagging so I was pretty happy with it.” 

Tipton junior Griffin Hare shot a 5-under par 67 to earn regional medalist and was followed by Caleb Bopp (70) and Bryce Robertson (71) both from Fishers. Cathedral’s Luke Mattingly (74) was next and Heritage Christian’s Drew Pickering topped New Castle’s Brady Wheeler in the playoff after both shot 75. 

Noblesville fired a 300 and edged homestanding Yorktown (301) for the team title. Hamilton Southeastern (309) was the third and final team to advance just slipping past New Castle (310) along with Indianapolis Cathedral (312) and Tipton (312). 

Eastbrook’s Collin Burman also turned in a good round, shooting 78 and the Panthers collectively had 358 in their first regional appearance to finish 14th. Gaven Bright and Knute Ripperger each shot 101 while Tyler Harness carded a 104.

“It’s been a great year. We have a great group of guys ... they just worked so hard to improve and it’s been fun to see that pay off,” Ross said. “We shot way lower than I think coach (Adlai Deisler) or I thought we could this year. The fact that it resulted in a sectional trophy is something really special and I won’t forget it.

Ole Miss’ Bryce Luedtke finished his junior season with an 86 after shooting 40 on his opening nine.

“In the beginning I wasn’t hitting my driver well. Eventually I found it out but it was too late for me to come back and make a run for something,” Luedtke said. “I putted well and my iron game was pretty strong, but I kind of struggled in some other areas.”