One agonizing shot is all that kept Bryce Turner from a spot in last year’s IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals.
Then a sophomore, Turner carded a 3-over-par 75 in the Providence Regional at Champions Pointe. His Columbus North teammate and classmate, Spencer Fairbanks, claimed the fifth and final individual qualifying spot with a 74.
“I was really pumped up to improve my game to a new level after that performance at regional because I was so close,” Turner said.
Turner missed a three-foot par putt on No. 18 that would have put him in a playoff. That could have ate at him during the offseason.
But since Turner had made longer putts on Nos. 16 and 17, he focused on those rather than dwelling on the miss on the final hole.
“I wasn’t making a lot of putts all day, at least for birdie,” Turner said. “I finally got one to go late in the back nine to even give myself a chance, so I look at that as positives coming out of regional.”
So far this spring, Turner has been trying to get back to that level. After averaging 40.2 per nine holes last year, he’s averaging 39.4 on nine-hole matches and 82.0 in 18-hole tournaments this season.
Saturday, Turner finished with an 83 in the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational at Otis Park.
“So far this season, it doesn’t seem like I can put my best round together, which hopefully will happen soon,” Turner said. “I’m not striking the ball that well. I feel like there’s a lot of room to improve. I’ve not been playing to my potential for sure, but I think things will start coming around soon. The future is bright.”
Turner, who is one of the captains on this year’s North team along with senior Jared Imlay, hopes that future begins Thursday, when the Bull Dogs face crosstown rival Columbus East at Otter Creek.
“Certainly, Brice is a leader,” Bieker said. “My expectation would be that he keeps working hard and solves some of his scoring issues, and I think he’ll do that. (Just missing state) should leave a little bit of a desire in his mouth to get better because that regional is a tough regional.”
The regional will likely include No. 2 Center Grove, No. 4 Bloomington South, No. 14 Evansville North, No. 18 Floyd Central and No. 20 Bedford North Lawrence. Only the top three teams qualify for state.
The top five individuals not on a qualifying team also advance. But the Bull Dogs are intent on making it as a team.
“That’s the main goal for this year — to get to the state tournament,” Turner said. “Then, as coach says all the time, ‘Once you get there, you never know what can happen.'”
What: Columbus North vs. Columbus East boys golf
When: 4 p.m. Thursday
Where: Otter Creek Golf Course