Chesterton Tribune



Title hopes slip away from Davis at state golf meet

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CARMEL -- What a difference a day makes. More specifically, what a difference five holes make.

The first-round leader after shooting a four-under par 68 on Tuesday at the boys golf state finals, Chesterton senior Mitch Davis slipped to a 79 in the second round Wednesday at Prairie View Country Club, a brutal seven-over finishing stretch sabotaging his chances for medalist honors.

"I pretty much just lost the state championship with a 43 on the back nine," Davis said. "I'm usually pretty hard on myself, but it's one of those things where I can't be upset."

While the 8 on the 18th hole looked hideous, it was actually tantalizingly close to being the first shot of a potentially memorable (memorable for a good reason) finish for Davis, who would have found himself in a playoff for the individual title had he even managed a six.

"I thought I crushed my tee shot," Davis said. "I knew I made a good swing."

So much so that he remarked, "That was big" to Trojans coach Jordan Nelson as he walked back from the tee. It wasn't until Davis got to his ball that he realized the result wasn't what he had envisioned, a lateral drop and a penality stroke for an unplayable shot, thanks at least in part to an ill-timed puff of wind.

"It's weird," Davis said. "My line was even further right in the practice round and it cleared. I hit a good tee shot. I thought I was lined up in a good spot. It just didn't have the carry."

Problems compounded for Davis, whose third shot stopped next to a tree, forcing him to chip out sideways. His fifth shot cleared the green and he two-putted after chipping onto the surface.

"He took the line he'd taken in his practice round both days," Nelson said. "He was just a little bit off. (Tuesday,) everything was on. Things weren't clicking. It was an unfortunate back nine."

Davis held firm at minus-4 through 13 holes, a three-shot lead still intact, though he said he wasn't thinking in terms of a title.

"I wasn't thinking at all (about winning)," he said. "I went out to try to shoot another 68. Being in the lead never crossed my mind. I just wanted to make every shot to the best of my ability. I made a goal to try to hit 18 greens and I hit maybe seven. From the second hole, I knew it was going to be a grind. I just didn't feel good over the ball all day."

Nevertheless, Davis was even on the round as he reached the 14th, having followed a bogey on No. 2 with a birdie on three and then 10 pars in succession.

The skid then ensued, a six-footer for par not falling on 14. After missing left off the tee on 15, Davis was unable to salvage a bogey, lipping out from five feet. The slide continued on 16, where Davis' second shot caught a bunker and he couldn't get up and down. A chance to pull out of the tailspin slipped by the hole on 17, when Davis' birdie bid to get back under par skimmed by the right side of the cup.

"If he gets the birdie, it's a big changer," Nelson said. "The course was set up pretty tough,. We weren't looking at the scoreboard. Our idea was just to play the way he did (Tuesday). Little things are the difference between a 68 and a 79."

The momentum switch gone awry, Davis downplayed the impact of the miss with a par five to close.

"It would've been nice to be 1-under, but it wasn't like I missed the putt and was deflated," he said. "I was thinking, one-, two-under (could win). I was still super focused."

Several hours later, after waiting out the rest of the day's action and a 90-minute weather delay, Davis, part of the round's first threesome, found out one-over would have been good enough to get into a playoff wirh Fort Wayne Dwenger's Logan Ryan and Cener Grove's Noah Gillard. Ryan's par on the first extra hole gave him the win over the defending champion, while Davis finished tied for sixth, earning a medal with the top-10 finish. The IU recruit was 20th last year.

"It's a little letdown for sure, but it was a solid round and a solid career," Nelson said. "(Plus-3) is still an admirable score."

Carmel edged Center Grove, 601-602, for the team title, followed by Zionsville (606).


Posted 6/14/2018




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