Matt Vorndran had solid golf seasons the past two years, but they weren’t as great as he had hoped.

This year, the Columbus North senior made a big breakthrough. The senior averaged team-bests of 37.1 in nine-hole rounds and 73.5 in 18-hole tournaments in leading the Bull Dogs to a fifth-place state finish.

“My freshman, sophomore and junior years, I was kind of disappointed,” said Vorndran, The Republic Boys Golfer of the Year. “I hoped to do better all of those years, but I really focused this year and had the year I had been hoping for.”

Vorndran was at his best in the Conference Indiana Tournament and the postseason. He shot 68 at Winding river to finish second in the conference, won sectional medalist honors with a 71 at Greensburg Country Club and finished second in the Providence Regional with a 67 at Champions Pointe.

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Then in the state finals, Vorndran carded rounds of 74 and 70 to tie for fourth individually, earning a spot on the All-State squad.

“I knew I could, but it was kind of unlikely,” Vorndran said. “I didn’t think I would place there, but that was a goal of mine — to place highly at state.”

In Doug Bieker’s 22 years as North coach, Vorndran’s invitational average of 73.50 this year ranks fourth for a single season behind only Tyler Duncan in 2008 (72.50) and 2007 (72.58) and Michael VanDeventer in 2014 (72.71).

Vorndran said he mainly worked on improving his swing in the offseason. He’s always been pretty good with putting and chipping, but worked hard on his irons since that was my weak point. As a result, he was able to hit a lot more greens in regulation, and that resulted in a lot more birdies.

“I think all along, throughout his four years in high school, Matt worked really hard, and he kind of enjoyed the fruits of that labor this year,” Bieker said. “He never took a tournament off. He always came to play, and he was a lot of fun to coach.”

Early in the season, Vorndran committed to play collegiately at IUPUI. He hopes to be a varsity contributor and play in a lot of tournaments for the Jaguars as a freshman.

If Vorndran makes as big a jump as he did last year, he likely will be able to reach that goal.

“It was a great season,” Vorndran said. “I was working really hard, and I think it paid off. I’ve been playing really well lately, and I feel like I can keep getting better and better.”

At a glance

The Republic All-Area Boys Golf team:

Matt Vorndran, Columbus North: The senior averaged 37.1 per nine holes played, won the sectional, finished second at regional and tied for fourth at state.

Spencer Fairbanks, Columbus North: The senior averaged 37.8 per nine holes and tied for 27th at state.

Bryce Turner, Columbus North: The senior averaged 37.9 per nine holes.

Drew Smith, Columbus North: The sophomore averaged 39.5 per nine holes.

Henry Kiel, Columbus North: The sophomore averaged 40.1 per nine holes.

Zachary Schiavello, Columbus North: The senior averaged 40.7 per nine holes.

Parker VanNess, Brown County: The sophomore averaged 37.8 per nine holes and qualified for regional as an individual.

Thomas Ruch, Columbus East: The senior averaged 38.8 per nine holes.

Derek Alexander, Columbus East: The senior averaged 39.9 per nine holes.

Cory Stuckwisch, Trinity Lutheran: The senior averaged 39.0 per nine holes.

Justin Compton, Hauser: The junior averaged 40.8 per nine holes.

Honorable mention

Columbus East: Adrian Adams, Nathan Cesarski, Avery Foist, Mark Mayhew. Columbus North: Jonathan Ward. Edinburgh: Bladen Hancock. Jennings County: Bryce Kirchner, Austin Roscoe. South Decatur: Jacob Johnson, Jake Vannatta. Trinity Lutheran: Jonathon Keith, Drew Royalty, Skyler Stahl, Chad Stuckwisch.

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