PLYMOUTH – Coach Tony Polizzotto and his Penn boys golf team literally and figuratively had their share of sweats Thursday during the Indiana High School Athletic Association Regional 2 championships at the Swan Lake Golf Resort.
When the 18-hole round on the hot and humid day finally ended, they all got to breathe a sigh of relief. Paced by senior No. 2 player Keenan Donze’s two-over-par 74 on the soggy 6,847-yard Black Course, the 10th-ranked Kingsmen qualified for their fifth straight trip to the state finals with a 311 total, good for the final spot among the three teams qualifying.
No. 14 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger won with a 10-over total of 298, four shots better than No. 13 Columbia City. The Kingsmen’s 311 was three shots ahead of Homestead and five better than No. 3 Carroll (Fort Wayne) and No. 11 Warsaw.
“The one thing about the teams I’ve had the last five years is they don’t quit,” Polizzotto said. “They may not have their ‘A’ game, but they don’t quit. That’s all I can ask as a coach. Sometimes it comes down to one or two shots, so the only thing you can ask of them is not to quit.”
The Kingsmen played the difficult front nine of the Black Course first and were tied for fifth at 157 with three other teams – Homestead, Carroll and Kokomo – behind nine-hole leader Columbia City (148), Dwenger (150), Warsaw (156) and South Bend Saint Joseph (156). Only Dwenger (148) bettered Penn’s 154 effort on the teams’ final nine holes with Columbia City matching it.
It was junior Ryan Hahaj, Penn’s No. 3 player, who first gave Polizzotto some reason for optimism after freshman Dylan Mounts’ 83 and junior Maddox Snyder’s 81 were recorded. Then Donze finished off his round of 74 and Polizzotto’s attitude brightened further. Finally, senior Jonah Kumfer, Penn’s No. 1, carded a back-nine 38 to close with an 80 that improved Penn’s advantage to three shots over Homestead.
Donze had the biggest shot of the day for the Kingsmen when he chipped in for an eagle on the 509-yard, par-5 fifth hole.
“I was hitting the ball really well, but I was missing a lot of short putts,” said Donze who later birdied the par-5 15th. “That shot at No. 5 got me going. This means a ton to advance. We’ve worked so hard all year.”
Hahaj, who won medalist honors with a 78 in Penn’s sectional championship victory Monday at rain-soaked Erskine Park, said Thursday’s course conditions were difficult as well despite the sunny and hot skies.
“For sure, it was super wet,” said Hahaj, who along with his teammates had a practice round last Thursday at a much firmer Swan Lake. “It was like a night-and-day difference. I didn’t have a birdie today, but I worked my way around the golf course.”
Not making the state finals field next Tuesday and Wednesday at Carmel’s Prairie View Golf Club would have been a disappointment for the Kingsmen, who went unbeaten during the regular season, won the Northern Indiana Conference title, won three in-season tournaments and finished second to top-ranked Guerin Catholic in the Lake Central Classic at acclaimed Sandy Pines near DeMotte in April.
“I knew I had to shoot better than the 42 on the front if we were to have a chance,” Kumfer said. “I knew it was going to be close, and I was just trying to stay calm enough to put up a good score to help the team out. After missing last year because of COVID and this being my first varsity year, this means a lot.”
Joining the Kingsmen in the state finals field is Northridge sophomore Brock Reschly, who shot a two-over 74, two behind three players – Dwenger’s Sam Brita, Columbia City’s Drew Dunham and Joe Shaklik of Fort Wayne Canterbury. Brita won medalist honors with a par on the 18th hole.
Coach Bret Bajdek’s Saint Joseph Indians, who finished runner-up to the Kingsmen in the NIC race and in Monday’s sectional at Erskine, finished 10th with a 321 total. Senior Sean Egan just missed qualifying as an individual by a shot with his round of 76.
“All and all, it was a good season – the seniors stepped up,” Bajdek said.
In the Regional 1 tournament at Sandy Pines, Guerin Catholic edged Carmel by a shot, 296-297, with Zionsville earning the third team spot to Prairie View, Carmel’s home course. No Tribune-area golfers advanced as individuals.
IHSAA REGIONAL 2 BOYS GOLF
Thursday’s results from the Indiana High School Athletic Association Regional 2 Boys Golf Championships on the 6,847-yard, par-72 (36-36) Black Course at the Swan Lake Golf Resort in Plymouth. The top three teams and top five individuals not on those team qualify for the state finals Tuesday and Wednesday, June 15-16, at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
Teams: 1. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 298; 2. Columbia City 302; 3. Penn 311.
Individuals: 1. Joe Shaklik (Fort Wayne Canterbury) 72; 2. Kash Bellar (Peru) 74; 3. Brock Reschly (Northridge) 74; 4. Bailey Marquart (Fort Wayne Concordia) 75; 5. Brandon Hansen (Kokomo) 75.
72: Sam Brita (Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger) made par on 18th hole to win one-hole playoff from Drew Dunham (Columbia City) and Joe Shaklik (Fort Wayne Canterbury.
Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 298: Nick Holder 74, Sam Brita 72, Dylan Olson 84, Kyle Morello 76, Charlie Olsen 76
Columbia City 302: Andrew Hedrick 81, Alex Hedrick 75, Sean Bledsoe 77, Drew Dunham 72, Kameron Hoag 78
Penn 311: Jonah Kumfer 80, Keenan Donze 74, Ryan Hahaj 76, Maddox Snyder 81, Dylan Mounts 83
Homestead 314: Ethan Schreck 81, Cade Cobler 77, Karsen Cabe 80, Jack Alverson 76, Jack Burda 88
Warsaw 316: Cal Hoskins 77, Ben Brander 82, Tucker Carlisle 81, Jack Yeager 78, Aiden Bowell 80
Carroll (Fort Wayne) 316: Ben Jackson 84, Cameron Gerue 80, Hunter Melton 77, Peyton Richmond 81, Jackson Bradley 78
Leo 318: Justin Hicks 78, Isaac Rorick 81, Wes Oplinger 77, Patrick Judd 82, Jack Gibson 97
Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 320: Grant Norman 77, John Barce 82, Jimmy Bunner 80, Justin Visser 81, Gabe Koehlinger 102
Kokomo 320: Brandon Hansen 75, Karson Parrott 81, Jackson Richards 82, Ty Lauderbaugh 82, Jon Callane 105
South Bend Saint Joseph 321: Sean Egan 76, Ben Kromkowski 91, Matthew Egan 81, Zach Toul 80, Joe Swick 84
Northridge 335: Brock Reschly 74, Ty Miller 81, Landon Cawood 84, Landon Sorg 96, Coby Hochstetler 97
Goshen 336: Chase Meyer 83, Jackson Guipe 79, Jacob Moyer 82, Zach Subera 92, Cam Schneider 105
Triton 340: Cole McKinney 84, John Gardner 85, Breylon Wareham 81, Keegan Westafer 90, Bruce Johnson 91
NorthWood 343: Jon Cripe 85, Earl Williams 82, Cooper Weins 79, Ben Vincent 97, Brady Chupp 100
East Noble 352: Ryan Gienger 85, Caden Anderson 83, Matt Kumfer 93, Avery Kline 97, Ryan Norden 91
Maconaquah 352: Hayden Williamson 78, Mason Taylor 80, Drake Guyer 89, Triston Herschberger 105, Lane Brehmer 114
Lewis Cass 367: Mason Hahn 87, Jensen Burrous 94, Rowdy Frey 83, Blake Brown 105, Jaden Younts 103
Mishawaka Marian 386: Evan Trippel 92, Joshua Schmidt 101, Will Christianson 102, Max Christianson 96, Ben Padmos 97
72: Joe Shaklik (Fort Wayne Canterbury)
74: Kash Bellar (Peru)
75: Bailey Marquart (Fort Wayne Concordia)
77: Benjamin Keil (Lakeland); Bennett Christy (Plymouth); Kyle Sanders (Western)
78: Gavin Morr (DeKalb); Owen Kruschwitz (Manchester)
79: Seth Roop (Heritage)
85: William Harris (Concord)
86: Tyrus Whitman (Fort Wayne Northrop)
89: Jake Van Baalen (Peru); Andrew Smith (Mishawaka)
91: Andrew Bondurant (Concord)
92: Lukas Berlew (Fremont); Rory Sullivan (Culver Military Academy)
95: Benj Pamachena (Mishawaka)
98: Alec Slater (John Glenn)