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Cubs punch ticket to State 1st time since ’08

June 8, 2018 GMT

HENRYVILLE - After carding back-to-back bogeys to finish his round with a two-over 74 during Thursday’s IHSAA boys golf regional at Champions Pointe Golf Club, Madison senior Landon Conner shed a couple tears. Conner suspected that his score might not be good enough to advance to the state finals individually and he was right. But once Conner got to the clubhouse, those tears of sadness turned to tears of joy because his teammates had stepped up in a huge way to finish with a 315 team score that tied Columbus North for third and left the final ticket to the state finals riding on a fifth-man tiebreaker that Madison’s Drew Barron won 84-87 over Columbus North’s Cameron Ziegler. The third place finish qualified Madison for the boys golf state finals for the first time since 2008. “It feels awesome because I felt devastated because I thought that I choked it,” Conner said. “When I saw the scoreboard, then found out we won the tiebreaker, I was filled with joy and it flipped my mood. I can’t believe it - this is awesome! I’ve been working for this since I was a freshman.” It was a historic moment for Madison but not the only historic moment for local golfers at Thursday’s regional. Southwestern’s Hunter Mefford carded a one-over 73 earlier in the day that put him in contention for a trip to the state finals. Playing in one of the first pairings to complete their round, Mefford then had to nervously wait and watch for several hours as all the other scores trickled in. In the event of a tie, a sudden-death shootout would be necessary to decide who would advance to state, so Mefford spent his time practicing on the driving range. In the end, the Southwestern junior dodged several bullets to tie for the final advancing spots outright and become the first boys golfer in school history to qualify for state. “I’m ecstatic right now - this feels awesome,” Mefford said. “I’ve been working all spring to get here and it finally came together. To shoot a 73 at this venue and the competition of teams here, it shows me that I can compete with some of the best people in the state. I feel awesome right now - this has been my dream to be in a state championship since I started high school. I’m really proud of myself.” “He has earned this. He has put in a lot of hard work and it showed today just how much of a talented golfer he really is,” Southwestern coach David Bright said of Mefford. “I’m extremely pleased for him. He’s such a great kid, too. All I can say is he deserves this. I’m kind of speechless right now because it was such a nail-biter coming down towards the end.” It was a happy but bittersweet moment for Mefford. Although he was advancing to state, his teammates were done for the season as Southwestern finished 14th with a 351. Austin Kramer shot an 88, Trenton Hadley a 91, Sam Beverly a 99 and Dylan Peck carded a non-scoring 106. “Just like Taylor Cole and Mitchell Cline did in track this spring, to represent Southwestern and the community of Hanover feels really great,” Mefford said. “I’m proud of the team for getting us to this spot and with the way they all competed today.” “It was a real successful season for us. We set two goals at the beginning of the year - winning conference and making it out of sectionals to get to regionals and the kids did it,” Bright said. “They put the hard work in and they set their mind to it and executed it. It’s nice to coach a team with this much drive and desire.” Although Barron’s 84 ended up being the clincher for Madison, the Cubs got to that point because several golfers elevated their games by playing much better at regional than they did when Madison won sectional by 22 strokes over Southwestern at Sunrise Golf Course on Monday. Along with Conner’s 74, Case Kiefer bounced back from a disappointing sectional round to finish with a 78, Luke Ommen shot an 80 and Trent Jameison carded an 83 to round out the Cubs’ scoring. “It feels great and going to state has always been the biggest goal of my golf career,” said Kiefer, a senior who has signed to play golf at McKendree University. “I’m just extremely blessed that I made it.” “I’m excited for them - I’m excited for all of these kids, but your seniors in particular you’re really excited for,” Madison coach Dale Crafton said. “Landon played really well except for the last two holes. We thought he might get out as an individual, but he is probably more excited now going with his team than he probably would be as an individual because he led our team. Case had a stretch of bad holes and usually that would affect him, but he stepped it up. Trent hasn’t been a scorer for us for a while and he was a scorer today. Drew didn’t have his best today, but if it wasn’t for his 84, we wouldn’t have gotten out.” No. 1 ranked Center Grove easily won the regional with a 290 while No. 10 Floyd Central was the runner-up with a 308. Center Grove’s Noah Gillard was the individual champion with a three-under 69. Madison and Southwestern’s Mefford will compete in the boys state finals to be played at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday with tee times to be determined. --- IHSAA Providence Boys Golf Regional Champions Pointe Golf Club Henryville Par 72 Thursday, June 7 Team Scores Center Grove 290 Floyd Central 308 Madison 315* Columbus North 315 Franklin Community 316 Bloomington South 323 Columbus East 324 Jasper 325 Providence 327* Bedford North Lawrence 327 New Albany 328* Roncalli 328 Bloomington North 333 Southwestern 351 Jennings County 353 Heritage Hills 356 Paoli 359 Greensburg 361 * won on fifth golfer’s score --- Top 10 Individuals Noah Gillard Center Grove 69 Ethan Stanley Bedford NL 71 Joey Wiseman Corydon 71 Jay Williams Jeffersonville 71 Hunter Mefford Southwestern 73 Ethan Kiel Columbus N. 73 Landon Conner Madison 74 Sam Jean Center Grove 74 Alex Hack Center Grove 74 Trey Beatty Providence 74 --- Top 5 Individuals from Non-Advancing Teams Ethan Stanley Bedford NL 71 Joey Wiseman Corydon 71 Jay Williams Jeffersonville 71 Hunter Mefford Southwestern 73 Ethan Kiel Columbus N. 73