Marauders come up just short, county golfers end season at regional

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Elijah Lemmon at Boys County Golf at Hawks Tail in Greenfield. In Thursday’s Muncie Central Regional, he shot a 77 to tie New Palestine’s Joey McPike as the top county finisher.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

YORKTOWN – The Muncie Central Boys Golf Regional is always packed with top talent, making it a tall task to advance onto the state tournament for Hancock County schools, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine.

Even in a year when all three teams improved on last year’s regional score, it still wasn’t enough to earn a top-three finish.

On Thursday, at The Players Club, Mt. Vernon came the closest with a team score of 321 and a fifth-place finish. They were five shots off the final qualifying spot of 316 by Fishers. New Palestine was ninth with a score of 330 and Greenfield-Central was 11th with a score of 343.

With both Mt. Vernon and Fishers still on the course and part of the final groups to post their scores, the Marauders stumbled down the stretch.

“We just weren’t good enough,” Mt. Vernon head coach Tom Kirby said. “With four holes to go, we were deciding our own fate and we were 11-over par. They all knew that we were in it.”

As a team, Mt. Vernon — who ended the day on the back nine — played the 15th hole 3-over-par, the 16th 4-over-par, were 1-over-par on the 17th and ended the day 3-over-par on No. 18.

At the same time, Fishers — who was ending the day on the front nine — closed out their round a combined 3-over-par over the final four holes.

Individually, Mt. Vernon’s Elijah Lemmon led the team with a 77, but just like the team, some back-nine struggles kept him from an individual spot in the state tournament.

After shooting an even-par 36 on the front, he closed out the day with a 41 on the back. A triple bogey on No. 11 and a double bogey on No. 13 kept him three shots off the final qualifying spot of 74 by Pendleton Heights’ Ryan Davis.

“The season was fine for him [Lemmon] overall, but he knows there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Kirby said. “His scoring average was above what he expected, and he knows there’s a lot of areas he can improve.”

The Marauders rounded out the team score with 80s from both Brady Pearson and Jace Lugar, and an 84 from Nils Erkmanis.

Matching Lemmon for the top individual finish from the county was New Palestine’s Joey McPike. And just like Lemmon, a bad back-nine hole kept him from the top of the leaderboard.

A four-putt triple bogey with four holes to go kept him from a potential round of 74.

“That was kind of a bummer, with him four-putting there, but other than that he played some really clean golf. He looked really good today,” New Palestine head coach Chris Story said. “He’s very calm in these bigger tournaments for some reason. He seems to get into a good frame of mind and play really well.”

He helped lead the way to New Palestine’s best regional finish under Story. The 330 was 15 strokes better than last season’s regional score.

“I think that’s our best regional score here since I’ve been coaching. I think most of these guys were here last year and have played this course several times, so just knowing the course and where to miss it and understanding these greens was huge,” Story said. “I’m proud of how they fought.”

Senior Ty Mitchell shot a personal-best 81 and Josiah Kissell fired an 84, but the Dragons No. 1 and No. 2 golfers struggled.

Luke Cofer shot an 88 and Nick Barada finished his high school career with a 92.

“Our top end didn’t have their A-game today,” Story said. ‘The wind caused some issues, and they just didn’t have it today.”

Greenfield-Central improved on last year’s round by one stroke, but the finish was disappointing for head coach Cliff Henderson.

“When you don’t win, or don’t do well it’s always disappointing,” Henderson said. “Just like any other match, there are things you can take away and build from. There’s some things that went pretty well, and you just want to sustain those things.”

The Cougars got a pair of sub-80 rounds from brothers Tyler and Avery Young.

After shooting a personal best 68 in the sectional at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield Golf Course, Tyler ended his career with a team-best 78.

“Hawk’s Tail is a nice course, but this is a longer course and the greens are no joke,” Henderson said. “Tyler has always been a steady performer for us. I think he’s more disappointed than I am. Overall though, he had a great season. One of the best seasons we’ve had from a golfer in a long time.”

Avery was a stroke behind him with a 79, while Corbin Elliott and Andrew Munden shot 89 and 97, respectively, to round out the Cougars team score.

“This shows me that we need work. We need to focus more on what goes around the green rather than on the range. We need to work from 40 yards and in, along with our putting,” Henderson said. “I thought we had done enough work on that, but obviously we didn’t because we lost a lot of strokes there today and throughout the whole season.”

All four county schools were represented at the regional with Eastern Hancock’s Parker Atkins and Zach Stephens playing as part of the individual qualifiers.

Atkins shot an 83 and Stephens ended the day with a 91.

2024 Muncie Central Boys Golf Regional

Team scores: Hamilton Southeastern 297, Noblesville 305, Fishers 316, Cathedral 317, Mt. Vernon 321, Heritage Christian 325, Eastbrook 327, Yorktown 328, New Palestine 330, Park Tudor 333, Greenfield-Central 343, Norwell 349, Delta 353, Monroe Central 363, Bluffton 364.

*Individual scores

Mt. Vernon (321): Elijah Lemmon 77, Brady Pearson 80, Jace Lugar 80, Nils Erkmanis 84, Asher Cotton 87.

New Palestine (330): Joey McPike 77, Ty Mitchell 81, Josiah Kissel 84, Luke Cofer 88, Nick Barada 92.

Greenfield-Central (343): Tyler Young 78, Avery Young 79, Corbin Elliott 89, Andrew Munden 97, Levi Smoll 104.

Eastern Hancock (no team score): Parker Atkins 83, Zach Stephens 91.

*Hancock County schools