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North Harrison senior Dylan Spencer has the shot of the day during last Monday’s match against Crawford County, Perry Central and West Washington, when he chips in this 35-footer for birdie on the third hole. The Cougars won by a three-stroke margin over the Wolfpack. Photo by Wade Bell

Cougar golfers edge Wolfpack

April 29, 2009
On a day that saw the wind try to send golf balls to worlds unknown, the North Harrison Cougars edged out a three-stroke win over the Crawford County Wolfpack in a four-way match that also included Perry Central and West Washington at the New Salisbury Golf Course.

"I think we've been improving just about every meet," North Harrison senior Matt Bruce said of his team after the match. "We want to get down to around or under 300 for sectional and regional. That's our goal. I think we're getting closer. Our No. 3, Daniel (Matthews), is getting more consistent. We're getting our game back, and we're pretty excited."

Amazingly, five golfers from the four teams shot below 40 despite the wind. Bruce and his teammate, Matthews, and Crawford's Andrew Curl all tied for the top spot with 36s. North Harrison senior Dylan Spencer finished with a 38, and Crawford's Austin Key shot a 39 for the nine holes.

"It was an up-and-down round for me," Bruce said. "I was one-under through four, then went off and made three straight bogeys, three straight short putts missed. It was one of those days when you hit a lot of good shots, you could go low. But with the wind, you were going to have to hit exceptionally good shots, because you were going to be further from the hole. It seemed like every hole you were into the wind."

"Five, six and seven were dead into the wind," Bruce said. "My drive on five just seemed to slow up into the wind and just fall straight down. It didn't go anywhere That's the three holes I bogeyed."

Matthews said the west winds forced him to miss several greens, but he felt good about his day overall despite the weather. However, he did say his putter could have helped him more.

"I missed a few putts inside of 10 feet," Matthews said. "The speed varied a lot throughout the day and the wind even hurt the putts. A couple of the greens were pretty rough. They had little dirt mounds on them from the worms. They varied in speed a lot."

Another problem was the muddy ground from the weekend's heavy rains. Numerous times golfers had their tee shots and second shots become stuck in the mud.

"You were playing for exact yardage," Matthews said. "The ball wasn't rolling anywhere within a foot of that. I had six tee shots plug on me today, every hole but one that were par threes."

Curl's score was helped by two big chip shots late in the match on holes one and three. He saved par on hole one with a 15-foot chipper, then got a birdie from a chip on his final hole.

"That helped me a lot," Curl said. "It wasn't the greatest 36, but the conditions weren't as good as usual. The course, not playing it very often, you don't know the yardage and how things play out. … (The wind) was a big factor on a couple of holes when you were hitting into the wind. As short as the court plays, it wasn't that much of a difference."

The shot of the day, however, belonged to Spencer on the par-4 third hole. His tee shot went right, then he saw his second shot bounce off the green on the far side. Spencer then gave himself a birthday present on his 35-foot chip. The ball bounced twice, rolled right toward the flag, struck the pole, then bounced up to fall in the cup for birdie.

"I'd have to say it was pure luck," Spencer said of the shot. "I just wanted to get as close as possible. It went in, and it was perfect. It felt really good. I thought I was going to have a great day and just couldn't get anything going after four and got kind of frustrated. I couldn't ask for a better chip. It was a great birthday day. I wish I could have shot better, but it was a good day."

Bruce said the adverse conditions could prove be a good thing in the long run as the teams hope to get to this year's regional.

"The regional is probably going to be windy," he said. "We've got to get used to it."

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  1. Cougars
    May 05, 2009 | 10:44 AM

    Your looking stronger by the day cougars. Keep working Hard and you'll be there at seasons end.

Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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