Balanced Bull Dogs soar into tournament season

When the Columbus North girls golfers tee it up in the Conference Indiana Tournament this morning at Cascades in Bloomington, there’s a chance that any one of the five Bull Dogs could bring home medalist honors.

In North’s first six nine-hole matches this season, each of the top five came away with medalist honors at least once. That balance has the fifth-ranked Bull Dogs thinking big as they approach the postseason, which begins on Saturday with the Greensburg Sectional.

“I think this is the most well-rounded team we’ve ever had,” North coach Scott Seavers said. “We have a lot of depth. Anybody in our top five can be medalist, and they have throughout the season. If we can all put it together, we can be pretty good.”

The past two Saturdays, the Bull Dogs have came within four shots of the top two teams in the state. Sept. 3, they fired a 307 in the Bloomington South Invitational at Cascades to finish four back of No. 2 and two-time defending state champion Evansville North.

Saturday, Columbus North shot 311 to finish four behind No. 1 Westfield in the Franklin Central Invitational at Smock.

“We just shot a 307 at Cascades, so we’re looking forward to (today),” senior Holly Anderson said. “Hopefully, we’ll shoot lower than that.”

Four of the five Bull Dogs had their best 18-hole scores of the season at Cascades. Anderson carded a 73, junior Julia Luken added a 74, junior Danbi Kim shot 77 and senior Aubrey Smith had an 83.

Sophomore Alex Munnicha, who shot 85 that day, put up a season-best 78 Saturday at Smock.

“We’re playing really well right now,” Anderson said. “All of our averages are low, and we had Aubrey break a school record the other day, and Julia shot her first score in the 70s. So we’re all really solid right now, and we’re all excited for conference and the postseason.”

Smith, the team’s No. 5 golfer, had a breakout round with a school-record 32 Sept. 1 against Southport at Southern Dunes. Columbus North set a nine-hole team school record that day with a 141.

That victory gave the Bull Dogs a 7-0 record in dual and tri matches this season. But a chance at an undefeated dual-match season went by the wayside Wednesday with a 164-168 loss to Martinsville on senior night at Harrison Lake.

“This is the only match we’ve lost, so we’ve been playing pretty well so far,” Smith said. ‘We’ve been pretty consistent.”

Columbus North will be a heavy favorite to win the conference today. No. 20 Terre Haute North is the only ranked team in the field.

Bloomington South, which plays some matches at Cascades, also could provide a challenge.

“I think we have a good chance of winning,” Luken said. “I know last year, we didn’t play our best.”

The Bull Dogs close the regular season Tuesday against Columbus East at Otter Creek. Then, it’s on to the sectional Saturday at Greensburg Country Club.

Columbus North played in the Hall of Fame Classic at Greensburg on Aug. 27. The Bull Dogs fired a 323 to finish five shots behind Westfield.

“We shot well at Greensburg, and we can only improve from there,” Munnicha said. “And Greensburg is like our second home course.”

A top-three finish on Saturday would send Columbus North to the Sept. 24 Lapel Regional at Edgewood Golf Course in Anderson. The top three from there qualify for the state finals Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Prairie View in Carmel.

The Bull Dogs finished fifth at state in 2014 and seventh last year.

“We want to win regional because we were runner-up the past two years, and we want to go to state and do well,” Kim said.

If you go

What: Conference Indiana girls golf tournament

When: 9 a.m. today

Where: Cascades Golf Course, Bloomington

Teams: Columbus North, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Franklin Central, Perry Meridian, Southport, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South

At a glance

A look at Columbus North’s top five girls golfers:

Name;18-hole avg.;best;9-hole avg.

Holly Anderson;77.50;73;39.86

Danbi Kim;77.75;77;38.57

Julia Luken;80.25;74;41.29

Alex Munnicha;82.50;78;39.00

Aubrey Smith;88.00;83;41.86

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