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Trojan boys fall one stroke short of the state finals

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Senior Brady Wheeler of the New Castle High School boys golf team taps in a putt during Monday’s sectional at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield. Thursday in the regional at The Players Club in Yorktown, Wheeler carded a 75 for the Trojans’ best score but lost a playoff to Heritage Christian’s Drew Pickering for the fifth and final qualifying spot for another trip to the state finals.
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Senior Spencer Stewart tees off on a hole during Monday’s sectional at Hawk’s Tail of Greenfield. Thursday in the regional at The Players Club in Yorktown, Stewart shot a 78 in his final meet as a Trojan as New Castle shot 310 and fell just short of reaching the state finals as a team.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

YORKTOWN — This year’s ultimate goal for the New Castle High School boys golf team was not achieved at Thursday’s regional at The Players Club in Yorktown, hosted by Muncie Central.

That goal for the Trojans was to reach the state finals as a complete team, and New Castle fell just short of it, finishing just one stroke behind third-place Hamilton Southeastern in the team standings.

Only the top three teams move on to this week’s two-day state finals at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel, and those three squads and their scores on Thursday were Noblesville 300, Yorktown 301, and Hamilton Southeastern 309.

New Castle finished a close fourth at 310. Even had the Trojans finished tied with the Royals at 309, HSE would have gotten the third spot as the score of its fifth-place golfer was slightly better than that of New Castle.

“We tried our best but we didn’t play our best golf today,” New Castle Coach John Burdsall said afterward. “We missed a few things here and there that cost us, but that’s golf. This result will hurt for awhile, but we had a good season.”

Finishing fifth through 18th in the team standings, respectively, were Indianapolis Cathedral 312, Tipton 312, Heritage Christian 320, Union County 331, Muncie Central 337, New Palestine 338, Indianapolis Chatard 344, Greenfield-Central 349, Norwell 355, Eastbrook 356, Bellmont 358, Centerville 359, Wapahani 361, and Richmond 364.

Also disappointing for the Trojans is that they will not have a golfer participating as an individual in the state finals which begin Tuesday and end Wednesday.

New Castle senior Brady Wheeler definitely was in contention for a state finals spot, as he shot 38 on the front nine and 37 on the back nine for a total score of 75. Wheeler had reached the state finals the past two years as a sophomore in 2017 and a junior in 2018.

That 75 tied Heritage Christian’s Drew Pickering for the fifth-best best score on teams that did not qualify for the state finals. However, Pickering beat Wheeler in a playoff for the “official” fifth place and the final individual spot in the state finals.

The top five scores overall at this regional were turned in by medalist Griffin Hare of Tipton with a 67, Caleb Bopp of Fishers with 70, Jacob Dekyne of Noblesville with 70, Bryce Robertson of Fishers with 71, and Alex Bratton from Yorktown 71.

Hare, Bopp, Robertson, Luke Mattingly of Indianapolis Cathedral with a 74, and Pickering will compete as individuals at the state finals.

The course at The Players Club was not overly kind to New Castle this season. In addition to Thursday’s result, the Trojans’ only defeat in a dual or triangular meet this year was to Yorktown here, when the two teams tied but the Tigers got the team win based on comparative scores of the fifth golfers.

The scores for New Castle’s other golfers Thursday were senior Spencer Stewart 39-39, 78; freshman Derek Tabor 38-39, 77; freshman Dillon Bergum 40-40, 80; and senior Nolan Beam 40-40, 83.

Tri sophomore Evan Murphy participated in Thursday’s regional at The Players Club and carded 50 on the front nine and 44 on the back for a total score of 94.

“He’s (Murphy) only a freshman in age and competed on this course for the first time ever,” Tri Coach Ron Coatie said. “Given that, I think the 94 was a good score for him on this course.”

As a side note, Yorktown’s Carson Orr competed as a freshman for Hagerstown two seasons ago but transferred to Yorktown afterward. Orr, the Tigers’ No. 1 golfer, shot 40-37, 77 Thursday and gets to move on to the state finals with his team.

“This is their (Tigers’) home course, they played well, and they earned the right to advance to the state finals,” Burdsall remarked.

New Castle says goodbye to seniors Wheeler, Stewart, and Beam. Over the past four seasons, the Trojans have won three sectionals and have participated in the regional as a team all four years.