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Bellar earns All-State honors at IHSAA Boys' Golf State Finals

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SCENIC DRIVE: Peru's Kash Bellar takes an approach shot from the middle of the fairway on the back nine at Prairie View GC during the second round of the IHSAA Boys' Golf State finals. Slower play over the final few holes led to a downturn in form for the Tiger sophomore but the result over two days was an eighth-place finish and an All-State spot for the 2019 boys' golf season.
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CROOKED STICK: Peru's Kash Bellar aims a put down the green on the front nine of Prairie View GC during Wednesday's second round of the IHSAA Boys' Golf State Finals. Bellar finished Wednesday's round at five-over, finishing three-over for the tournament.
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ALL-STATE: Peru's Kash Bellar tees off during Wednesday's second round of the IHSAA Boys' Golf State Finals. Bellar secured an All-State finish as his two-day total of 147 saw the Tiger sophomore finish in a tie for eighth overall.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

CARMEL – After nine holes of play Wednesday in the second round of the IHSAA Boys’ Golf State Finals, Kash Bellar was looking down on the field from a lofty position.

Three holes into the back nine, Bellar was still in control of the field but a slide across the final six holes mean a chance at a state title was quickly out of the picture.

Bellar’s two-day total, however, was more than enough to earn an All-State spot after finishing in a tie for eighth-place in the finals.

“I played 30 really good holes of golf,” Bellar said. “The other six holes, I don’t know what those were.

“It happens. I tried to pull it together but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Peru head coach Clint Mathews said it was a pleasure to watch Bellar on the course.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Kash,” Mathews said. “He played really good golf over the two days.

“He had a couple of bad breaks at the end and it wasn’t the finish he wanted but overall, it was a very valuable learning experience. It was also a solid finish and he’ll be an All-State golfer, which was one of his goals this year.”

Carmel routed the field on the second day of play, shooting one-over as a team and winning the team state title with a score of 588, 17 strokes ahead of second-place Noblesville and Center Grove, both finishing on 605.

 

The Greyhounds also secured individual honors as Nick Dentino won on the first hole of a playoff against the Miller’s Clay Merchant after both golfers finished with two-day totals of 140.

Bellar began the morning as part of the first wave off of hole No. 1 and started his round with a pair of chances for birdies but took pars on holes No. 1 and 2 before carding a birdie on No. 3 to move to three-under for the tournament.

“It was nice to be the first to go off,” Bellar noted. “It was pure greens to start.

“Once we got to the back, you could tell things were bumpier but it is what it is.”

A pair of pars was followed by a bogey on No. 6 before getting the shot back with a birdie on No. 7.

After a par on No. 8, Bellar finished the front half with a chip-in birdie to move to two-under par for the day and four-under through 27 holes.

“It was nice,” Bellar said about the hole out on No. 9. “I was just trying to get my four and get out of there but they go in sometimes.”

After pars on No. 10 and 11, Bellar and playing partners Drew Wrightson of Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit and Drew Pickering of Heritage Christian ran into an obstacle: the rest of the field.

Having played the first 11 holes with a good tempo, the trio had to wait for their tee shots on No. 12 and would do so for much of the remainder of the round.

“It probably affected me,” Bellar said on the slowdown starting from hole No. 12. “I tried to not let it affect me but it did.

“That’s how it is at state. The play is slow, even though everyone tells you to play fast.”

Bellar parred No. 12 but hit into the water in front of the green on No. 13, taking his second bogey of the round.

Extra putts started to pile up with bogeys on No. 14 and 15 before another trip to the drink on No. 16 saw Bellar take a double bogey.

A second double bogey followed on No. 17 after a wide tee shot but Bellar was able to finish off the round with a par on No. 18, shooting five-over on the day with a 77 and 147 for the tournament.

“(Kash) was playing great golf,” Mathews said about the round. “He didn’t have a lot of bad swings; he just had a couple of bad breaks and the errors compounded.

“It wasn’t the finish he wanted but I liked the way he finished it with a solid par on No. 18.”

Guerin Catholic finished fourth in the team standings on 617 followed by Columbus North and Castle in a tie for fifth on 630, Penn and Floyd Central in a tie for seventh at 634, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in ninth on 637 and Hamilton Southeastern in 10th  on 655.

Bellar’s playing partners finished the day well as Wrightson finished third on 143 while Pickering tied with Bellar on 147, as did Stewie Hobgood of Evansville North.

Adam Braton of Castle and Nic Hofman of Harrison (West Lafayette) finished in a tie for fourth place on 145, followed by Luke Prall of Carmel and Alex Heck of Center Grove in a tie for sixth place on 146.

With Bellar making it to the finals, Mathews said it would help spur on the rest of the Peru boys’ golf team to make sure everyone would be playing in next year’s final.

“We had a lot of guys come out (Tuesday) and they saw how great it is down here,” Mathews said. “It’s a completely different atmosphere than you see at any high school tournament during the year.

“It was motivating for him and them. We’ll work hard and try to all be here next year.”

Bellar was a bit down after the round but understood where mistakes were made and wanted to return for a better round next year.

“This will help me grow mentally and mature a little,” Bellar said. “I could have done a few things different but it is what it is.

“Being here drove me and hopefully next year, I can have a better result.”