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North seniors take final shot at state

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After his players finished a practice round Monday, Columbus North golf coach Doug Bieker was asked if The Legends course was well suited to his team.

The Legends hosts the 78th Indiana High School Athletic Association Boys Golf State Finals today and Wednesday, and the Bull Dogs have been runner-up two of the past three seasons over the layout.

“A lot of courses fit our team well because these guys are good,” Bieker said.

Bieker will send out five seniors — Michael VanDeventer, Christian Fairbanks, Ian Coffey, Nick Waskom and Zack Lee — and he is confident they will have a big finish to their careers.

“We are coming to win,” Bieker said.

Columbus North, which is ranked second in the state behind Hamilton Southeastern, has won a lot with VanDeventer and Fairbanks in the lineup. Those two have been a part of four sectional champions, four regional champs and the two state runner-up finishes.

VanDeventer, who tied for seventh in the state tournament a year ago, and Fairbanks, who is coming off a regional victory at Champions Pointe in Henryville, are among the favorites to win an individual title.

However, North’s strength lies in its depth, and Coffey, Waskom and Lee all have the potential of going low.

Lee stumbled to a 90 in the regional tournament, but Bieker said he expects him to snap back today.

“Zack will be just fine. Those guys (Coffey, Waskom and Lee) are important, and they all know that. They all have the potential to shoot 68 or 69, and I don’t know that a lot of teams have that luxury.”

If Coffey, Waskom and Lee can produce solid rounds, the state title might depend on how low Fairbanks and VanDeventer can go.

“I’ve been here three times, and I am more excited than nervous,” Fairbanks said. “I’ve been with all these guys for a while, and I feel our team has played well here.

“And a lot of holes here are set up for a fade, and that’s my typical shot.”

Defending champion Westfield, ranked No. 3, returns among the 15-team field. Twenty-five individuals from teams that did not qualify advanced to the state tournament to put the overall number of golfers at 100.

The five regional champions are Fairbanks, Graham McAree of Hamilton Southeastern, Dylan Holsclaw of Plainfield, Matt Meneghetti of Lake Central and Tyler Prentkowski of Glenn.

Bieker said he will talk to his golfers about playing to their strengths and not trying to push the envelope.

“We’ll have a little talk on the bus on the way here,” Bieker said. “Ultimately, you only can control what you do. I think that is why we have been successful (in the state tournament) because we don’t get too worked up.”

Coming off the 18th green Monday, Coffey said the wind created a good test of golf. However, today’s weather is expected to be hot and humid without much wind. That could mean low scores.

“Hitting greens here is not too hard,” Coffey said. “It could become a putting contest.”

Bieker doesn’t expect extreme heat and humidity to bother his players too much. “Our kids play all summer in difficult conditions,” he said. “But it is going to be a long day, six-hour rounds and a physical test.

“If these guys were freshmen, I might be worried about it. But they’re seniors. They’ve been here before.”

North’s first tee time is 9:21 a.m., the first of five groups. Bieker suggested that North fans might enjoy watching the action from around holes Nos. 3 and 7.

“Those are par 3s; and in an hour and a half, you can see everyone. But I think this is a good spectators course in general.”

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