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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

GHS's Wheeler misses state by three strokes; Cloverdale's Arnold shoots an 81 in first trip to regional

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jimmy Wheeler [Order this photo]
GREENWOOD -- For Putnam County golfers Jimmy Wheeler and Chris Arnold, their first trip to regional was a memorable one. For Wheeler, it was how close he came to moving on and for Arnold how this year's disappointment will drive in to success next season.

Wheeler missed advancing to the state final by just three strokes with a 73, while Arnold posted an 81 following a rough back nine. Both golfers posted impressive scores on the front nine, but the back was a different story.

While it might not have all been smooth for Wheeler, his sand save on No. 10 displayed the patience that aided him on the day and helped propel him to his 73. Another aspect that made the difference for Wheeler was his work on the green.

His putting was on target and his head coach Donovan Wheeler acknowledged their impact.

"That was a great score and he played really well -- I'm just very happy for him," Donovan said. "I happy for the way he's played all year. It was a lot of fun watching him play. He had to make a lot of tough saves today and he really made some Herculean putts I thought that kind of made a big difference."

The golfer himself was happy with his number, but knows it could have been better.

Chris Arnold [Order this photo]
"I actually didn't think it was a good as it could have been," Jimmy said. "I had six birdies, which means I made a lot of mistakes -- mostly on the front nine. I missed three or four makeable birdie putts on the front nine.

"I want to say I'm disappointed, but I've never been to regional before, so I didn't know what to expect. I'm satisfied, even though I didn't advance; I'm satisfied with how I played," he added.

Jimmy was at one-over with two holes to play and the GHS junior went bogey, par. An element that affected both golfers was waiting. At least two times, the duo had to wait on the tee box, while waiting on other golfers. The wait on No. 18 was in excess of 15 minutes.

For three years running, Donovan has seen his team miss advancing to regional, and for his individuals that played at regional, they too have found it difficult to advance out.

"It's getting really old coming this close to moving on and not getting there, but I'm still very proud of what he's done. I know he's frustrated because I think he felt like his chances were good, but it's just a very competitive field," Donovan said.

Jimmy will play in some summer tournaments this year, a facet of his life that has been happening for many years.

"He's definitely going to be in the tournament circuit just as he's been in it his entire childhood," Donovan said. "He started playing tournament golf when he was eight years old and I think that's really why he's at the point he's at today, because I didn't say a word to him all day. There wasn't anything I needed to say -- he manages his own game and took care of his own decisions."

Jimmy's game moved to another level this season and he hopes to take that momentum and continue improve for next season.

"I'm going to have a lot more confidence next season than I had this season, obviously," Jimmy said. "It just gets me more motivated for the next season to start.

"It's going to be an exciting summer," he added.

It was apparent as Arnold made his way from the course that the day didn't go as planned. An upset Arnold spoke following his round and noted the struggles he had on the day.

"Well, it was sort of a disappointment for me because I was playing so good coming into here and thought I could come in here and shoot a low score and contend to get out, but I just blew up," Arnold said.

Asked to pinpoint when his problems began on the back nine, he narrowed it down to a single hole.

"Yeah, I made a double-bogey on No. 12 and that's where it started to go downhill. I let a few holes get away from me on the back and it just killed me," he said.

That was apparent as he got going on the next hole. As Arnold teed off on No. 13, he walked off the tee box, turned to look at the previous hole and shook his head. The hole was something he couldn't shake for the remainder of the round.

Cloverdale head coach Doug Wokoun also noted his golfer's troubles began on the back nine. He pointed out the change of pace on the back nine might have affected Arnold.

"I thought, for the most part, he played the front nine well," Wokoun said. "I think knowing how many good players they have here, pressing a little on the back nine and having to wait. He was in the front group at the beginning and was able to go at his own pace and I don't think the waiting helped him or the kid he was playing with on the back nine.

"That's part of it. I don't think we had any kind of experience like that during the course of the season where we had to wait that much. It works on your mental make up a little bit and you really have to fight through that. Trying to shoot a score, fighting through the waiting on the back -- it just didn't work out for him today," he added.

As with Wheeler, Arnold will be playing tournament golf this summer and Wokoun is delighted to see what they can do next season.

"Those guys will play all summer to get ready. We have one more year with those guys and it's going to be a great year for the West Central Conference and for Putnam County golf next year," Wokoun said.

Fellow West Central Conference golfer Rylan Porter of Monrovia advanced to the state finals after shooting a 69.

At Hickory Stick G.C.

Advancing Teams

1. Brebeuf Jesuit 284, 2. Avon 290, 3. Martinsville 95

Advancing Indivduals

1. Porter (M) 69, 2. Andrew Fogg (Roncalli) 70, 3. Graham Singer (Zionsville) 70