Olympians open with second-place finish

FRANKLIN — Columbus East’s depth came through in a huge way in Thursday’s season opener, but it was not quite good enough to overtake host Whiteland.

The Olympians finished second in the tri-match, four shots shy of a victory, with a 193 at The Legends Golf Club. The host Warriors scored a 189, and Greenfield-Central finished third with a 218.

East junior Lily Shelp was one stroke short of tying for medalist honors after shooting a 44. Her final shot of the day was a chip-in birdie on No. 9.

Whiteland’s Audrey Echart and Bri Harwell were co-medalists at 43.

After Shelp finished her round, she wished her chipping on her first eight holes was as good as her chipping on the final hole.

“I mishit some chip shots, but my driving was really good,” Shelp said. “I had a lot of good long putts. My short game other than my chipping was good.”

Autumn Fateley didn’t have her best round. She picked up a couple of triple-bogeys but recovered in her final two holes with a par and bogey to finish with a 51.

“I had a lot of three-putts today,” Fateley said. “I think it got to my head a bit and hurt the rest of my game, but I recovered at the end, and I’m happy with that.”

Zoe Rangel shot a 48. Natalie Ryan scored a career-best round of 50. Rangel and Ryan each a par on hole No. 5.

“Zoe is still getting into form,” Buntin said. “She has this natural ability and is still learning how to play. She has a great feel for the game, and she is going to be bright spot for us this season.”

Ellie Buntin round out the field for the Olympians by carding a 57.

East coach Troy Buntin was pleased with the results.

“The number I had in mind was, if we broke 200, I would be pleased,” he said. “Natalie Ryan in her first varsity match goes out and shoots a 50 on a strange course that is really hard.”