June 05, 2019The Paoli Rams golf team took home top honors at the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference tournament on a breezy and hot Memorial Day at the Donald Ross course in French Lick. Individually, the match went into overtime to declare a winner, with the Rams' Dawson Long winning a three-hole playoff against teammate Jordan Clark.
"I think it's something we can build off of," Paoli coach Kevin Street said. "I think as much as anything playing under tough conditions and still doing a good job, that will help us down at (sectional site) Sultan's Run."
"It's the second year in a row we've had four guys (make all conference)," Street added. "Just for fun, we've said we'd like to get all five kids all-conference. Last year, we missed it by a shot and this year we missed it by a couple or three shots. So, getting four out of five is pretty good. I'm very proud of the kids that did that."
Paoli's Dawson long made a putt enroute to madalist win in the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference tournament on Memorial Day.
Players were spread all over the course to begin the match, and Mother Nature joined the party with hot conditions as well as a good, stiff breeze. The wind made a difference with some of the drives and also the greens very hard to read.
"With the wind, it was blowing really hard," Street said. "It was swirling around, which made it pretty tough. It dried out the greens. These greens are tough on a regular day and, then you get them when they get firm and fast, it makes some tough putting and chipping. I thought the kids handled that pretty well and did a good job.
"In the afternoon when the sun came out and the wind started blowing, it really dried out the greens a lot," he said. "So, they were playing at a really fast pace. If you were above the hole, you had to really be careful because it's so easy to get that thing running entirely off the green in a lot of places. You had to play a lot of break-on putts to give it a chance to stop around the hole. So, it was playing really difficult."
There were some differences in this match than tournaments in days past, one being the much lower numbers of players. There were only four full teams, Crawford County with just two players, Orleans with three and Springs Valley with three.
Crawford County began the season with just a single player with Levi Arnold before Derick Thameling joined Arnold the first of May. Arnold had an average of 48 for nine holes going into the match, while Thameling had played only five matches coming in. Arnold finished with a round of 100 with Thameling at 137.
Scores were high for the 18 holes with the majority of the rounds going over 100. A score of 96 or lower made the all-conference list. Paoli's Jordan Clark and Dawson Long finished with low rounds of 83 that needed a three-hole playoff to determine a winner. Long got the win in the end.
"Pretty much every hole on my first nine holes was awful for me," Long said after the overtime holes. "I was nine over, and I broke my driver in the course of that too. I just had to regroup, and I strung together some pars and it just worked out in the end.
"You've just got to take it one shot at a time because every hole out here is tough, and you've just got to get the best score you can," he said. "You can't press and make it worse than it has to be."
"The main thing was to just try to keep it in play, keep it out of this heather," Clark said. "There's so much heather around here. You've just got to take it one shot at a time. You can't really think about the next shot."
Paoli dominated the day with a team score of 354 for a 43-shot margin of victory over runner-up Perry Central (397). Mitchell was third at 468, and West Washington was fourth at 482. Also on the all-conference list with Long and Clark were teammates Aiden Dooley at 92 and Shawn Buchanan at 96. Orleans' Isaac Moore at 85, Perry Central's Garrett James at 91 and Springs Valley's Reed Tarr with 85 also made the list.
"Usually you've got some kids in the high 70s, mid-high 70s," Street said. "The kids played well today and on a tough day did a good job."
"We knew we were the best team coming into this," Long said. "We knew it the entire season really. We just had to play to our standard, whether we were going to win. By a pretty easy margin, we did that today."
"They both do a good job," Street said of Dawson and Long. "They're both seniors and have played together back since the junior high days, and they both do a really good job with getting the ball around the course. That playoff was nice. Jordan made a couple of nice putts to keep it going. Dawson hit a lot of really solid shots and just played really good through the whole thing. So, I'm very proud of both of them.
"With Jordan and Dawson tying for medalist honors and going into a playoff gives us a chance to play under a little bit of pressure there and knowing they can continue to play well," Street continued. "So, I think having an all-conference championship and having a nice score like we're doing does a really good job for us going into sectional play."
That momentum did carry over to the Sultan Run course at Jasper for Saturday's sectional. The Rams finished in third place with a team score of 347 to advance to the regional. Jasper won with a score of 325, and Heritage Hills was third with 338. Dawson Long finished second individually with a round of 76, just two shots behind Jasper's Jack Bies, who earned medalist honors at 74.
Paoli 354 (Dawson Long 83*, Jordan Clark 83*, Aiden Dooley 92*, Shawn Buchanan 96*)
Perry Central 397 (Garrett James 91*, Braeden Etienne 97, Brennan Tucker 98, Jace French 105)
Mitchell 468 (Richie Gaines 101, Tanner Payne 107, Gavin Tincher 121, Devani Martinez 139)
West Washington 482 (Hunter Pate 103, Trenton Halloway 120, Gavin Smith 129, Jacob Meyer 130)
Orleans - No Team Score (Isaac Moore 85*, Carson Baker 102, Wyatt Hopper 119)
Crawford County - No Team Score (Levi Arnold 100, Derrick Thameling 137)
Springs Valley - No Team Score (Reed Tarr 95*, Ryder Hall 113, Brycen Qualkenbush 126)