SPRING VALLEY — The Princeton Tigers blew into the Three Rivers Conference golf meet taking second place in its league debut on a windy day at Spring Creek Golf Course.
The Tigers came in with a team score of 340, eight strokes behind meet winner Kewanee. St. Bede took fourth at 342, the same score as third-place Riverdale with Amboy/LaMoille (351) sixth, Hall (366) eighth and Bureau Valley (394) 13th in the 15-team field.
“It’s one of those days, when you have young players sometimes don’t know what to expect, The wind picks up (and) the scores pick up. It was just trying to get them to understand that,” PHS coach Duane Price said. “You got to grind it out, you got to keep grinding. That’s the word they keep hearing me say all the time. So second place here today is fantastic under these conditions considering the guys we have on our team.”
“That’s really exciting. I’m proud of our team,” PHS senior captain Zach Hicks said. “We’ve got through a lot of improvement this year. I know Colby (Robbins) and Shorty (Nichols) played well today along with everybody else. Second’s not bad. We were expecting good things today. This second is pretty good in a 15-team conference.”
On a day Hicks (85) did not have his best round, Price said the Tigers’ depth team shined most. The freshman Robbins led the Tigers at 83 good for seventh, and Nichols was ninth at 84.
“To have our No. 4 man step up and shoot an 88, pumps that up. That’s what we need. To be one of the top three teams to come in at regional that’s what it’s going to take, a cluster of those, and hopefully Zach plays a little bit better which I know he will,” Price said.
Hicks said things got away from him on the back nine when he went 9 over on holes 12-15.
“Obviously, Zach wants to play better and lower. My emphasis to him was learn how to hang on to a round. We’ll get better for Saturday and get better for regional,” Price said.
Griffin Kozeal, a junior from LaMoille in its co-op with Amboy, was especially pleased to hear the TRAC Meet would be held at Spring Creek. It showed in his game, coming in with rounds of 40-41 for a fourth-place 81.
“I love this course, I always play well on this course,” he said, noting his 81 is where he should be playing at, not the upper 80s of late. “I played pretty well, I missed some of the shorter putts and two balls went out of bounds, But I played pretty consistent.”
He said he was just hoping to get in the top 10, because he knew there were a lot of good golfers.
Also cracking the top 10 was St. Bede junior Anthony Truckenbrod, who came in at 83, good for ninth. Truckenbrod said he was hitting all his tee shots in the fairway and his putting was OK.
When asked if he surprised himself Truckenbrod said, “Yeah, I played pretty decent.”
Having a home course advantage was a big help for the Bruins, along with Hall, Truckenbrod said.
“It was probably pretty big considering we play here like every day,” Truckenbrod said, noting in particular the difficult No. 12 hole.
Hall and senior Pete Mautino caught a bad break when the Red Devils No. 1 man inadvertently played the wrong ball on hole No. 2. By penalty, he was disqualified for the day. Had he discovered the mistake before teeing off on the third hole he would have only received a two-stroke penalty.
“It was determined he played a wrong ball on a hole and teed off on the next hole and was disqualified. Which is too bad, because he would have had the third best score,” Hall coach Tom Bauer said.
Still, Bauer said he took a lot of positives out of the day for his days with rounds of 87 and 88 from freshman Adam Hoscheid and senior Nick Scheri.
“If we play like that Tuesday with Pete coming in with a good score like I know he will, we got a good chance coming in top three. I told our team that,” he said. “If we don’t play well we can finish eighth. We will, that’s how close it is. We have a chance to finish in top three, that’s all you ask for.”
Seniors Ryan Young and Logan Twidell each shot 91s to lead Bureau Valley. Young said the course played pretty tough in good conditions.
“You just had to hit the right shots, precise first and second shots would lead to very good third and fourth shots,” he said.
Notes: Riverdale’s Jake Tysma beat out Kewanee’s Tyler Nelson in a one-hole playoff on the 10th hole to claim medalist honors. Both came in at 77 in regulation play.
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