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Bellar prepared to tackle IHSAA Boys' Golf State Finals

ONWARD: Peru's Kash Bellar (C) finished tied for third overall at the IHSAA Plymouth Boys' Golf Regional and will participate in the IHSAA Boys' Golf State Finals at Prairie View GC in Carmel Tuesday and Wednesday. Bellar will tee off at approximately 9:48 a.m. Tuesday morning.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Kash Bellar is used to playing in big golf tournaments.

A week before the IHSAA Boys’ Golf State Tournament got underway, Bellar was prowling the grounds at the Big Blue Course at the University Of Kentucky as part of the GolfWeek Junior Tour Championship round, finishing fourth in the 14-15 age division.

Just before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, Bellar will tackle another championship round as the sophomore tees off on No. 10 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel at the IHSAA Boys’ Golf State Finals.

Bellar, who qualified for the finals from the IHSAA Plymouth Boys’ Golf Regional, was pleased to advance to the finals in his second attempt.

“It feels pretty good to go to state,” Bellar said. “Would have liked to be going as a team but it is what it is.

“My goal in practice was to grind out the few days between rounds to get ready for state.”

A round of 73 at Swan Lake Resort’s Black Course was enough to see Bellar tie for third at the regional on a course that was new to most of the competitors involved.

“The course played fair,” Bellar said about the Black Course. “There were a few tough pin positions but overall it was a fair course.

“You had to put the ball in play, get on the green and make putts.”

After a solid front nine played at 1-under par, the back nine saw Bellar card three bogeys but a strong finish put his mind at ease.

“As soon as I hit it, I felt good about it,” Bellar said about his birdie on No. 18. “When I saw it go down, I knew I had a very high chance of making it out.”

While Bellar ensured his spot at the state finals, the team was unable to do the same by the narrowest of margins.

Peru shot 319, tied with Fort Wayne Canterbury for fourth and finishing fifth overall on fifth-score tiebreaker, while Warsaw snared the last team spot in the finals with a 318.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Bellar said about the team missing state qualification. “I would have loved to go down there with the team and have a practice round with everybody but it is what it is.

“We ground it out but just got outplayed (Thursday).”

As for the course for the state finals, Prairie View GC plays slightly shorter than the Black Course at 7073 yards.

Water hazards are not as prominent as at the Black Course but there is no lack of water around Prairie View with troubles spots on holes No. 9, 13, 16 and 17 along with the White River, which runs around the perimeter of the course.

Several of the perimeter holes feature narrow fairways with trees lining both sides while sand traps dot every hole on the course, many of which require golfers to navigate doglegs with precise shots.

Bellar, who has played rounds at the course before, said the course was not too dissimilar to what the regional offered and felt confident heading into the round.

“(Prairie View) is long and somewhat similar to (the Black Course),” Bellar noted. “You have to put it in play.

“The greens aren’t as severe so there are a lot flatter putts. Overall, it’s a fair course; it’s gettable and I feel confident about that.”

A first-timer to the state finals might be nervous going in but Bellar said his play in big tournaments made fitting into the final round of the season that much easier.

“It gives me confidence to know that I belong there,” Bellar said when asked about his tour experience going into the finals. “I can definitely go out there and show people what I’ve got.”

Bellar will tee off at approximately 9:48 a.m. Tuesday morning as part of a threesome including Indianapolis Cathedral’s Luke Mattingly and Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit’s Drew Wrightson, both qualifying as individuals a year after playing in the state finals with their respective teams.

For Bellar, Tuesday may be a milestone achievement but the sophomore was looking at it like any other big tournament he entered.

“The dream goal is to win it,” Bellar said about his first trip to the finals. “My overall goal is to play solid golf and grind it out.”