East turns golfing tables on North

After the final putt fell to complete Columbus East’s 297-310 victory over Columbus North on Thursday at Otter Creek Golf Course, it seemed a celebration would be in order.

North, the defending state champion, has been the dominating program for years, but with the Bull Dogs’ inexperienced lineup this season, there has been a changing of the guard.

The Olympians overwhelmed their rival, and yet, it was rather subdued as darkness fell over the golf course.

“We try to emphasize that golf is different than football, basketball or soccer,” East coach Tom LaBarbera said. “It is each of our players individually playing the course.

“My biggest concern was that we have not played well the past 10 days. Tonight was good … a 297.

East was led by its No. 1 golfer, Adam Krebs, who put a three-under 69 on the board.

“We’re starting to hit our stride,” said Krebs, who hit 13 greens in regulation. “And the sectionals are close.”

Krebs was asked if it was great to beat North.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “It’s always nice to get a win. We haven’t been doing well in our matches. Maybe we’re an 18-hole team.”

While many of the dual matches cover nine holes, the North-East match was played over 18 holes.

That helped North’s No. 1 golfer Kyung Kim, who shot 39 on the front nine but rallied with a 33 on the back for an even-par 72.

“I struggled to hit the greens on the front,” Kim said. “I didn’t feel that I played that well, but the back was better.”

Although the Olympians dominated, Kim said that North is coming.

“We were at 310, and that’s not terrible,” he said. “We’re going in the right direction. I think we all have to work on our front nine scoring. Maybe we are a little nervous.

“And they are the experienced team now.”

After Krebs, Austin Proffitt put up a 73 for East followed by Zach Sutton at 77 and Will Mayhew at 78. Completing East’s scoring were Derek Alexander at 80, Chris Jurrema and Thomas Ruch at 86 and Sam Lewis at 114.

“Adam’s potential is beginning to show, like we saw tonight,” LaBarbera said. “It was his senior year match against North and he wanted to play well. Hitting 13 greens is solid and he also got up and down for par.

“Austin (Proffitt) was solid all day. He made the turn at one over and then hung in there. He was struggling lately, but it was a very good night for him.”

Although the Bull Dogs lost all their starters from their state championship team, LaBarbera said they have plenty of talent.

“North has a very good team,” he said. “Kyung (Kim) shot even par and that is a solid score. He and Adam had a duel going out there.”

North assistant coach Kevin Sasena said the match against a veteran East team shows the Bull Dogs they have plenty of work to do.

“This is a good benchmark,” Sasena said. “And we are going to see these guys again.”

It will be interesting to see which North squad shows up. Sophomore Matt Vorndran shot 68 in a match against Center Grove and Franklin on Wednesday but carded an 85 on Thursday against East.

What was the difference?

“That’s a good question,” Vorndran said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball straight. I wasn’t hitting greens and I wasn’t hitting fairways.

“I just need to keep practicing.”

After Kim’s 72, North’s next high score came from Conner Hayes at 78. He was followed by Jared Imlay, Spencer Fairbanks and Bryce Turner at 80, Connor Opalka and Zachary Schiavello at 83 and Vorndran at 85.

East, meanwhile, needs to bear down as well to show more consistency.

“We just need to continue working,” LaBarbera said. “Our goal is to qualify for the state tournament as a team.”