HENRYVILLE — After his team struggled on this same Champions Pointe course during the Providence Invitational two weekends ago and then posted a less-than-desirable score in the sectional round, Columbus North boys golf coach Doug Bieker was more than happy to see a 290 go up on the scoreboard at Thursday’s Providence Regional.
The 10th-ranked Bull Dogs finished second, 12 shots behind No. 1-ranked Center Grove, and earned a spot in next week’s state championship at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel. No. 11 Bedford North Lawrence claimed the third and final state qualifying spot with a 301.
“It’s good enough to get us to next week, and then anything can happen,” Bieker said.
Columbus East wound up in 11th place with a 326.
Senior Matt Vorndran led the way for North with a 5-under-par 67, which tied for the low round of the day. Vorndran lost a playoff for medalist against Joey Wiseman of Corydon Central.
“My tee shots were going really great,” Vorndran said, “and my putting was awesome. It was just a good day.”
Spencer Fairbanks and Bryce Turner also had strong outings for the Bull Dogs, both finishing their rounds at even-par 72. Drew Smith rounded out the scoring for North with a 79, and Zachary Schiavello added an 86.
“Each one of them faced a little bit of adversity through the round, but they controlled that,” Bieker said.
The Olympians were led by Derek Alexander, who had a strong day playing in the No. 4 position. Starting his day on the back nine, Alexander was at even-par at the midway point before finishing with a 2-over 74, just one shot away from qualifying as an individual.
“This is probably the best that I’ve ever hit my driver,” Alexander said. “I hit a lot of fairways, and I just kept focus all the way through.”
Thomas Ruch struggled to a 46 on the back side before catching fire and shooting a 3-under-par 33 on the front to finish at 79. Nathan Cesarski added an 84 for East, while Mark Mayhew shot an 89 and Adrian Adams carded a 90.
The day didn’t go quite as well for Jennings County, which finished at the back of the team pack with a 388. Bryce Kirchner paced the Panthers with an 86. Justin Gasper carded a 98, Hunter Conrad added a 100, Austin Roscoe shot 104 and Adam Leach had a 120.
Brown County’s Parker VanNess led the area’s individual qualifiers by shooting a round of 86. Trinity Lutheran’s Drew Royalty and Chad Stuckwisch finished at 90 and 95, respectively.
For the Bull Dogs, the season extends one more week. The state finals are Tuesday and Wednesday.
Bieker said that he’s proud of his senior quartet of Vorndran, Fairbanks, Turner and Schiavello for finishing strong and getting the team back to state after missing out a year ago.
“They wanted to play the last day they could play golf in high school,” Bieker said, “and they’re going to get their wish. I’m really thrilled for those guys. They’ve worked hard for four years, and it’s all paying off now.”