Olympians take 4th in rain-soaked event

BEDFORD — For most of Saturday’s Bedford North Lawrence Invitational, rain pelted the nearly 90 golfers representing 18 teams.

“I think we had maybe two holes at the end with no rain,” said junior Thomas Ruch, whose 77 led Columbus East to a fourth-place team finish. “It was brutal.”

Ruch, who played No. 3 for the Olympians, matched his career-best round on a course he had never played before. He tied for third place individually with Jennings County’s Ian Donnell.

Austin Mahoney of Madison won medalist honors with a 2-over-par 74.

“You can’t let the rain bother you,” Ruch said. “You have to block it out and really stay focused, and I think I did that as well as I could.”

Host Bedford North Lawrence won the team title with a 316. Evansville North finished second with a 321, followed by Madison at 327 and East at 329.

Columbus North (339) and Jennings (344) took seventh and eighth, respectively.

Derek Alexander carded a 79 for the Olympians. Austin Proffitt added an 83, while Mark Mayhew shot 90 and Avery Foist had a 92.

“We’re playing against the course and trying to improve each time we go out,” East coach Tom LaBarbera said. “Dealing with the elements, we’re happy with the result, but we know there are areas where we need to continue to improve and try to by the end of the season be down around 316, where Bedford was at today.”

Matt Vorndran led the Bull Dogs with an 82. Bryce Turner carded an 83, Drew Smith added an 85, Spencer Fairbanks shot 89 and Jared Imlay had a 104.

North coach Doug Bieker said his team needs to be tougher mentally when the weather isn’t ideal.

“Golf is such a difficult game,” Bieker said. “You can’t let one or two shots get you down, and for some reason, these guys try to be so perfect all the time, and you just can’t, especially on a day like today.”

Along with Donnell’s 77, the Panthers used 88s from Jake Simmons and Garrett Day and a 91 from Bailey Wilder. John Kelley had a 96.

Jennings coach Gary Yeager said his team’s score was better than in last year’s Bedford North Lawrence Invitational, when the weather was dry.

“I’m pretty happy,” Yeager said. “For the conditions, it seems like the guys were able to keep their attention and intensity. I thought we played really well on the front nine when it was raining really hard. I told them just to the play through it, and I think the guys did a pretty good job to finish out.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.