BEDFORD — After finishing the front nine at the Hoosier Hills Conference boys golf championships at Otis Park Golf Course, Columbus East boys golf coach Tom LaBarbera simply called his team’s performance a struggle.
But as East realized on the back nine, the more relaxed they were, the better they would perform.
The Olympians shot 329 to finish fourth. Madison claimed the title at 312, while Floyd Central finished second at 315 and host Bedford North Lawrence took third at 316.
After shooting 172 on the front nine, the Olympians collectively improved for a 152 on the final nine.
“We knew after the front nine, we were too far behind,” LaBarbera said. “I told the guys to stay relaxed, and come out at the back nine and stay focused and finish strong.”
LaBarbera said the team struggled with the environment.
“They struggled with the uneven terrain,” LaBarbera said. “We weren’t connecting on the tough shots, and we struggled to get the ball on the green.”
Adam Krebs shot the team low for the Olympians with a 79.
“Once I got a birdie on the 12th hole, I felt more relaxed,” Krebs said. “I just had too many up and down moments and was too aggressive at points to get the ball on the green.”
Krebs said he had to find a way to recoup after a 41 on the front.
“I had points where the ball would roll off the green,” Krebs said. “Just when you feel like you are gaining momentum on a shot, it will change by the next hole if you aren’t careful.”
East’s Chris Jurrema carded a 82. Will Mayhew scored an 83, Zach Sutton shot 85 and Austin Proffitt had an 87. Mayhew, who played for the first time at the course, said he knows what he needs to do.
“I need to be more accurate with my approaches to the green, and work on my putting a little more,” Mayhew said. “We all struggled on the front nine. Luckily I was able to come back hard on the back nine and put up a decent score.”
LaBarbera said the team’s confidence needs to build with short time before the sectional.
“They know they could’ve done better,” LaBarbera said. “They have to learn to deal with the pressure of a big tournament such as this. Once they get more relaxed with this type of environment, they are going to be fine.”
Seymour finished sixth with a 347. Dustin Ruddick led the Owls with an 80, while Brady Marshall shot 86, Ethan Ashley 88, Jordan Jones 93 and Zach Quillen 95.
“Our team is going in the right direction,” Ruddick said. “We have had some ups and downs this year, but we are starting to feel confidence with every meet.”
Jennings County finished seventh with a 351. Jake Simmons led the Panthers with an 82, while Garrett Day shot 86, Tyler Gerkin 90, Ian Donnell 93 and Bailey Wilder 94.
“We know that this course is always tough, but we are familiar with it. We need to learn to be more consistent with our playing,” Jennings coach Gary Yeager said.