CARMEL — The last three holes didn’t go quite how the Columbus North boys golf team would have liked on the opening day of the state championship, but that didn’t sour what had been a pretty solid day overall for the Bull Dogs at Prairie View Golf Club.
In an opening round slowed by a pair of lightning delays, North put up a score of 305 (17-over-par) on Tuesday, leaving itself in fifth place heading into the final 18 holes of the season today.
The Bull Dogs enter today five strokes back of Noblesville for the fourth and final spot on the awards podium.
“If you ask them, none of them finished how they wanted,” North coach Doug Bieker said. “If we finish better (today) and play the rest of the round the same, we’ve got a chance to move up the leaderboard.”
Spencer Fairbanks and Matt Vorndran each shot 74 to pace the Bull Dogs, who also got a 76 from Bryce Turner. Drew Smith’s 81 rounded out the scoring for North, while Henry Kiel finished at 83.
Though the Bull Dogs playing holes 16 through 18 at a collective 10-over-par put a damper on the afternoon, Bieker was generally pleased with how his players performed on a long day — particularly how they responded to the two breaks in play, which kept golfers off the course for approximately three hours.
“We came back from the delays fine,” Bieker said. “We started on a really tough hole (the par-5 13th) after the second delay, and we played it well. These guys are tough mentally.”
Most of the Bull Dogs got through six holes before the first weather delay, which came just after 10:40 a.m. and lasted for a little more than an hour. Vorndran led the charge early, posting birdies on the first and sixth holes to move to 1-under-par.
When play resumed, North was able to make it through the difficult middle portion of the course before the second delay and did so in reasonably decent fashion. Fairbanks birdied the seventh to get back to 1-over, where he remained by making par on each of the next five holes.
Following the second delay, which lasted nearly an hour and 42 minutes, Fairbanks posted another birdie on 13 to momentarily get back to even par.
“I hate delays, so two of them kind of rattled me,” Fairbanks said. “But it’s state, so you’ve got to stay focused, and I knew all of the other guys were somewhat playing well, so I kind of just fought through it and tried to play my best.”
Carmel fired a 2-under 286 to lead the tournament. Center Grove and Westfield are second and third at 292 and 293, respectively, while Noblesville is fourth at 300.
The Bull Dogs’ final-round tee times begin at 9:21 a.m. today.