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Peru, Beck see season come to an end at Warsaw Regional

THAT KIND OF DAY: Peru freshman Jake VanBaalen watches on as his putt on No. 9 at Stonehenge GC dips under the edge of the cup and goes by. VanBaalen shot 89 on the day, the same score as North Miami’s David Beck, as the Tigers finished 11th overall with a team score off 344.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

 

WINONA LAKE – Thursday marked the end of the road for the 2017-18 sports year as Peru and North Miami’s David Beck met their match in Stonehenge GC at the Warsaw Boys’ Golf Regional.

As a team, the Tigers finished six spots better than in 2017, finishing 11th overall on 341, bettering Peru sectional champions Western by three strokes.

No. 5 Penn won the regional with a team score of 297, followed by a hotly-contested race for the two remaining state qualifier spots.

Culver Military Academy and No. 7 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger would earn the spots by the slimmest of margins as the Eagles shot 304 and the Knights 305, a stroke better than No. 15 Fort Wayne Canterbury and No. 17 Homestead, who both finished on 306.

Kingsman Ben Szlarek earned medalist honors in a playoff over Spartan Garrett Willis as both players finished the round with 70.

Willis and teammate Bradan Kattman, Manchester’s Harley Kruschwitz, South Bend Saint Joseph’s Michael Anthony and Fort Wayne Bishop Luers’ Stephan Bolen all advanced to the state finals as individuals.

Kash Bellar led Peru with a round of 80, followed by Corbin Robison on 84, T. Fred Eddy on 88, Jake VanBaalen on 89 and Trevon Crowe on 91.

Tiger head coach Clint Mathews said the regional was a tough round and needed an exemplary performance to advance from.

“They were not the numbers we were looking to shoot,” Mathews said about the team score of 344. “Looking at what it took to get to state, it was significantly lower than last year as 305 was the last score to advance, so there was quite a bit better golf.

“This does give the guys something to work for next year. We did play better on the second nine and was especially pleased with T. Fred, who shot 40 on the front nine, his best nine-hole score of the season, which hopefully propels him to a good season next year.”

The team got off to a slow start, playing the back nine first, with all five players shooing in the 40s.

Mathews said the players did rebound on the second nine by not deviating from the plan laid out before the round.

“We told the guys to stick to the game plan,” Mathews said. “We had gone over things during our practice round and didn’t want them to change what they were doing because the numbers weren’t as low.

“They didn’t try to force things and most of the guys played better on the second nine.”

Beck, meanwhile, finished his career with a round of 89 after a rough start to the day as health issues cropped up in the opening holes according to North Miami head coach Doc Troxell.

“Once (David) got balanced out, he didn’t play too bad,” Troxell said. “He started to settle down, hit the ball with some authority and towards the end of the front nine, he played pretty decently.

“He started the back nine with a par but followed it up with a double bogey and was still having some issues pulling the ball to the left. He did shoot a better score on the back nine with a 43 but there were still some issues that hindered him.”

Despite the early issues, Troxell said Beck kept his cool and played a solid round.

“Even when he was having issues, he tried to be focused, which is difficult when things are out of whack,” Troxell noted. “He was able to maintain his focus but just didn’t execute the way he could have.

“Regardless, we’re very proud of the young man for getting through the sectional and to the regional. He represented himself and North Miami quite well.”

Troxell said the Warrior golf program was in the spot it was thanks to Beck and was looking forward to what he and the team did next year.

“David’s impact for the golf team has been very instrumental from his freshman year all the way through graduation,” Troxell said. “He and Cody Francis have kept the program going forward and kept us focused on what the future might hold for North Miami.

“David is moving on to play at Huntington University now but we still have a core nucleus with Collin (Redman), Riley (McGuire) and Cameron (Early) that means the program is going to bode well in the future.”

For Peru, only one senior departs in Crowe and the bulk of the squad returns still as underclassmen.

Mathews was eager to see what the squad would look like once 2019 rolled around.

“We’re excited by what the guys did this season and they are as well,” Mathews said. “Losing Trevon is going to hurt but we have a couple of seniors behind him in Matt (Kiefer) and Andrew (Baker) looking forward to the opportunity that is there.

 

“We expect the team to come back and be even better than they were this year.”