St. Bede 1A boys golf regional
SPRING VALLEY — The St. Bede 1A boys regional golf meet was all about the streaks that continued and one that ended at Spring Creek Golf Course Monday.
Three Rivers Conference champ Riverdale (318) won its fifth straight regional championship by a 38-stroke margin of victory over runner-up Putnam County (356).
Putnam County senior Ian Roach qualified for sectionals for the fourth straight time, claiming his second regional championship in two years.
Bureau Valley senior Trent DeVenney qualified for sectionals for the third straight year.
For the St. Bede Bruins, it was all about a streak that ended as the Bruins (359) placed third to advance for the first time since 2014.
They will be joined at the Freeport sectional Monday by sophomores Bryson Smith of Bureau Valley and Rivers Jordan of Hall, who both qualified for the first time.
St. Bede has had some close calls in recent years, losing out on a tiebreaker in 2013, and one point the year before that.
“It’s been a while since we broke through, so it’s really nice it happened,” St. Bede coach Rich Cummings said. “It’s an accomplishment because we’ve worked hard through the summer and the year.”
The Bruins had the advantage of playing at home, especially Potthoff, whose family owns Spring Creek.
“Yeah, there’s a little home course advantage. I play here basically every day in the summer,” said Potthoff, who placed fifth individually, shooting a 41 on front 9 and 39 on the back. “I know the greens pretty well for playing here a lot.”
Unlike its close calls of years past, the Bruins made it out comfortably, beating out both Newark and Erie-Prophetstown by 17 strokes. Also scoring for the Bruins were junior Owen Espel (90), freshman Brendan Pillion (92) and sophomore Logan Humpage (97).
“It was pretty sweet that we made it out. We knew Riverdale was going to get a spot. The other two were up for grabs. We thought we had a chance to get one of them. We played good enough, and now we’re going on to sectionals,” Potthoff said.
Bureau Valley’s DeVenney was the second individual not from an advancing team, shooting an 85. He would have liked to have done better, but was pleased to move on again.
“I hit the ball OK. Not as good as I have last couple times. Working on peaking at the right time this year,” he said. “Last year, I shot 80 at regionals and 86 at sectionals. I figure if I flip it, I can advance to state.”
DeVenney said he knows he has the capability of qualifying for state, it’s just “If I put it all together.”
Things weren’t going so well for Smith, either. He blew up on hole No. 9 with a quadruple bogey and took a triple bogey on No. 10. He turned things around on rest of the back 9, however, parring six holes.
He said he just had to put those two holes behind him.
“I started hitting greens, striking the ball a lot better,” said Smith, who grabbed the 10th and final qualifying spot.
Jordan was the fifth individual qualifier, shooting an 88. He had one of the best shots of the day when he shot less than a foot from the cup on hole No. 4 from 220 yards out on his third shot using a 4 hybrid.
He surprised himself qualifying, having started off the season poorly.
“I started bad, but now I’m shooting good again,” he said, noting he will need to do better putting and hitting the ball straight at sectional to qualify for state.
Roach shot a 75, beating out three Riverdale golfers for medalist honors — Ryan Bussert (78), James Moorhusen (79) and Sam Williams (80). He shot a 31 on the front, but was hampered by four “blow-up holes” on the back 9, shooting a 44.
“I’ve been to sectionals all four years now. With some good play on the front 9, I should be able to take some momentum to sectional. Hopefully get a first-place medal there,” Roach said.
“Ian’s goal is always to contend in every tournament he plays in. Today he made it three out of four for the season in which he was medalist, which is a great personal accomplishment for him,” PC coach Chelsi Niewinski said. “His 31 on the front 9 was some of the best golf I have seen him play.”
Roach was happy to take some company to sectional with him.
“We’re moving on to sectionals as a team, which is all we wanted to do. So I’m proud of them,” he said.
“We had making it out of regionals as a team set as a goal since the beginning of the season, so we’re really proud to have accomplished that goal,” Straughn said. “We had an awesome front 9, but struggled quite a bit on the back 9, so that made it a little bittersweet. But we are on to sectionals, which is the important part, so I am very proud of the boys. We are hoping to come out and post a nice score at sectionals.”
It marked the third time in four years the Rams beat out the Panthers for regional honors.
St. Bede 1A boys golf regional
Top 3 teams
1. Riverdale 318
2. Putnam County 356
3. St. Bede 359
Ian Roach (PC) 75
Trent DeVenney (BV) 84
Rivers Jordan (Hall) 88
Bryson Smith (BV) 92