MARTINSVILLE -- A quick look at scores around the state reveals that the Martinsville Boys' Golf Sectional is almost certainly the toughest in the state. The winning scores in some of the sectionals wouldn't get you a second look at Martinsville.
With defending champion Avon once again winning with a 284, Martinsville shot a 295 and Plainfield had a 300 to round out the top three. All three advance to Thursday's Center Grove Regional.
Greencastle had the misfortune of tying Plainfield's 300, but finishing fourth on a fifth scorecard tiebreaker. North Putnam was sixth with a 319 and Cloverdale was seventh with a 325. South Putnam's 385 placed them 14th.
Another near miss came for South Putnam senior Tyler Newby, who shot a 75, missing advancing individually by one stroke.
Heartbreak was not the only order of the day, though, as GHS seniors Eric Davis and Jacob Collins shot 73 and 74, respectively, to advance to regional as individuals.
GHS coach Donovan Wheeler was happy for the duo, whose golf careers have taken different paths to this point.
"Regarding Eric, it was critical that he do this. This is the kind of year he's had. He's been the leader all year," Wheeler said. "It was pretty much the expectation that if we didn't, he would. If he didn't go, that would have been a surprise."
As for Collins, the round came as a surprise. It was the first time he's even broken 80 in competition.
"For Jacob this is really nice. You're talking about a kid who wasn't even in the lineup for sectional last year. He's had such an up and down career. He finally got hot and he had a decent senior year, but he had a spectacular finish and I'm very happy for him and very proud of him," Wheeler said.
For the team effort, Wheeler had to take a while to get over the heartbreaking aspect of it all. Yes, they missed advancing by just one stroke. That one shot could have been made up at any one of 300 points on the course.
"At the time that it happened, I couldn't think. I was beside myself, kind of numb," Wheeler said. "But looking back on it now, it's like I told the kids, they are all going to sit down and go through the 'what ifs.'
"But there's really no need to do that," he continued. "300 is a great score and these guys played really well. This is golf. It's funny. You put five guys out there and count four scores and you'd think all those kids playing all those holes, it couldn't come down to one. But it does so many times."
Besides the top two, Luke Crimmins had a 76, and Wade Huber rounded out the scoring with a 77. Jimmy Wheeler shot an 82.
"These are amazing kids. I can't put into words what these kids have meant to me," Wheeler said.
For the Cougars, the sixth place finish may have been a bit of a disappointment. With a team of five seniors on the course, they looked to have a chance of advancing, but the scores went so low that even their best effort might not have done the trick.
"We could have been better, but a tie for third was 300, which is a terrific score. That's awful hard to beat, and I don't know if we had that in us," Coach Dave Fox said. "We probably had low 300s, but we couldn't have gotten to 300."
Austin Malayer led the NP effort with a 77. Patrick Byrd had a 79 and J.J. Burns added an 80. Jeremy Redman closed out the scoring with an 83. Kyle Smith added a 94.
"It's their last time out. It's a beautiful day to play golf; it's a beautiful golf course. The guys all played well," Fox said. "I don't think anybody's hanging their head. We had a real good season and we had a lot of fun. All we can do is build from that."
With graduation and high school golf behind them, Fox looks toward good futures for these five kids.
"They're all very nice young men. They're all going to college. They've all got tremendous futures in front of them," Fox said. "I can't do anything but just wish the best for them. They're going to do well."
The Clovers finished behind the Cougars on a mixed round from the squad.
Freshman Chris Arnold fired a 78 to lead the way. Michael Wellington came out of nowhere to shoot an 80, but senior No. 1 Michael Glassburn had to battle to an 82. Sean Rhine rounded out the scoring with an 85. Blake Witt added an 89.
Wokoun said he will miss the play and leadership of seniors Glassburn and Rhine.
"Michael has been a four year letterman for us and a really outstanding player and to have it end for him and to have it end with maybe not his best day is really kind of tough," Wokoun said.
"Sean has probably come as far in four years as anybody between the beginning in March three years ago and where he is now," Wokoun continued. "He's a great personality and a great leader, and we're going to miss both of those things as much as his play, which has been great."
For the Eagles, the sectional stayed much the same as the year -- a battle. The heartbreak of Newby was a big point, as not only did he miss advancing by a stroke, he lost on an amazing effort from Cascade's Anthony Arthur.
The Cadet looked to be out of contention after a 42 on the front nine. But he made the turnaround of the day, firing a 32 on the back and defeating Newby by a single stroke.
"I'm heartbroken (for Tyler)," SP coach Scott Ricke said. "To see him put in the effort and hours and come so close is rough. But he played very well. He struck the ball very well. It just slipped through the fingers at the end.
"Golf is a game of inches and it came down to a couple of putts," he continued. "Unfortunately, he missed the ones he needed and Arthur, shooting a 32 on the back, is incredible. It's tough, but I'm still proud of the effort he made. He's a great kid."
After Newby's 75, the second score came from No. 5 Tyler Cox with a 101.
"Tyler Cox played very good for him. He's made leaps and bounds this year," Ricke said. "He's a great kid and he comes out here and puts up a 46 in the front, which is by far his best score on a course he doesn't know that well."
Damon Robinson was next with a 104, and Tyler Shoffner added a 105. Michael Nichols had a 107.
"The other guys were up and down," Ricke said. "We had some decent fronts and some bad back sides. It wasn't our greatest effort, but all five of those guys are of great character and they've come a long way this year."
Monday marked the end of the line for eight Putnam County seniors. All five of North's players, Cloverdale's Glassburn and Rhine and the Eagles' Newby all played their final high school rounds. Additionally, Collins and Davis are both seniors for GHS.
One coach took a few moments to speak highly of all nine of them.
"Putnam County is seeing some really good seniors play for the last time today," Wokoun said. "They are some guys who have been outstanding golfers and really good young men. There are opportunities in all four programs for some young guys to step up. At the same time, you hate to see the end of the careers of some guys who are really, really good golfers."
For Davis and Collins, the season will last a few more days. They will be in action at Hickory Stick on Thursday.
"Course management will be the thing, just making smart decisions," Wheeler said. "It's going to be very different visually from this golf course. It's going to be a matter of ignoring all the places not to hit it and concentrating on the places you need to hit it. I think these two kids can handle it."
If the seniors keep their heads, the coach knows each one has a chance to do something big.
"I'm excited about the possibility. David (Lilly) missed state by three strokes. Something like that resonates with these kids. The possibility that we've got people are good enough to have a run at it is exciting," Wheeler concluded.
The Center Grove Regional begins at 8 a.m. Thursday at Hickory Stick Golf Club in Greenwood. While the individuals are scheduled to play first, exact tee times for Davis and Collins will be available later.
At Martinsville Country Club
Martinsville Boys' Golf Sectional
(Top three team scores advance)
Avon 284, Martinsville 295, Plainfield 300, Greencastle 300*, Brownsburg 318, North Putnam 319, Cloverdale 325, Cascade 331, Danville 338, Tri-West 346, Mooresville 347, Bethesda Christian 365, Monrovia 372, South Putnam 385, Eminence 532
*--Lost on fifth card tiebreaker.
Medalist -- Ronnie Harris (A) 67.
Individuals advancing -- Eric Davis (G) 73, Jacob Collins (G) 74, Anthony Arthur (Ca) 74.
Avon (284) -- Harris 34 33-67, Rodgers 36 36-72, Whitt 37 35-72, Wegeng 39 34-73, Janney 38 35-73.
Martinsville (295) -- Crouch 35 37-72, Sanders 36 36-72, Oleksy 34 41-75, Porter 41 35-76, Thompson 38 38-76.
Plainfield (300) -- Treash 33 38-71, Trinkle 35 38-73, Reno 42 35-77, Harris 38 41-79, Adams 39 42-81.
Greencastle (300) -- Davis 36 37-73, Collins 38 36-74, Crimmins 38 38-76, Huber 38 39-77, Wheeler 39 43-82.
Brownsburg (318) -- Gerking 39 37-76, Breslin 38 41-77, Berrett 42 40-82, Western 44 39-83, Owensby 41 42-83.
North Putnam (319) -- Malayer 37 40-77, Byrd 41 38-79, Burns 36 44-80, Redman 41 42-83, Smith 49 45-94.
Cloverdale (325) -- Arnold 39 39-78, Wellington 42 38-80, Glassburn 41 41-82, Rhine 40 45-85, Witt 43 46-89.
Cascade (331) -- Ant. Arthur 42 32-74, Keutzer 38 45-83, Russo 39 38-87, And. Arthur 42 45-87, Rosenbalm 42 45-87.
Danville (338) -- Jones 38 39-77, Scott 42 40-82, Gregory 45 42-87, Merkley 43 49-92, Roberts 46 54-100.
Tri-West (346) -- Hahn 35 43-78, Rhoades 38 45-83, Kuhns 42 47-89, Lawson 47 49-96, Call 50 57-107.
Mooresville (347) -- Swaim 41 42-83, Schneider 42 42-84, Dust 42 44-86, Bingham 42 52-94, Lundy 47 49-96.
Bethesda Christian (365) -- Johns 38 40-78, Phillips 47 44-91, Feldman 46 54-100, Lorenzen WD.
Monrovia (372) -- Dillon 41 36-77, Everett 44 43-87, Standeford 50 48-98, Lundy 59 51-110, Stamper 52 60-112.
South Putnam (385) -- Newby 35 40-75, Cox 46 55-101, Robinson 52 42-104, Shoffner 51 54-105, Nichols 51 56-107.
Eminence (532) -- Brewer 63 54-117, Shupe 56 62-118, Asher 70 77-147, Collins 64 86-150, Wallace 82 71-153.
Next match -- Greencastle's Eric Davis and Jacob Collins will compete in the Center Grove Regional at 8 a.m. Thursday at Hickory Stick Golf Club in Greenwood.