Noah Searcy hits a big drive. Photo by DAJO Photos

Ten teams converged on the Liberty Country Club on Monday, June 3, for the IHSAA sectional golf tournament hosted by Union County.

Playing in near-perfect weather conditions, five contenders emerged in the battle for the Top 3 finishing positions — and with it, the right to advance as a team to the regional. The ability to negotiate the three difficult finishing holes helped determine the outcome. 

Only eight strokes separated the Top 5 teams in the final standings.

The Connersville Spartans played the final three holes four strokes better than any of their competitors; that clutch performance propelled them to the team title by two strokes over second-place Centerville. Union County captured the final regional spot, sliding past Northeastern and Hagerstown. 

Brady Moore posted a 73 to earn medalist honors.

Brady Moore from Centerville was the medalist for the second consecutive year, posting a score of 73. Hayden Chalfant from Northeastern shot 77 to finish second in the overall standings. Carson Whitley, from Union County, shot 78 to finish third. 

Chalfant and Noah Searcy and Jacob Lieberman from Hagerstown advanced to the regional tournament as individuals.  

Centerville was the only Wayne County team to advance to the regional. Head coach Aaron Roberts said for the first time all season, things fell in place for the Bulldogs.

“I feel good about our performance today,” Roberts said. “In golf there is always room to improve, but I have no complaints. To finish only two strokes out of the lead and advance to the regional as a team is a testament to the work these kids have put in.” 

Moore, the back-to-back medalist, shared his thoughts after the match.

“I am excited,” Moore said. “It has been a weird year with so many rainouts and playing on muddy courses, but today the conditions were great. I am so proud of my teammates. They came focused and ready to play and we got to move on to the regional together.”  

Hayden Chalfant displays his second place ribbon.

Chalfant, the second-place finisher with a score of 77, will advance to the regional for the second consecutive year. He talked about the Champions Pointe Golf Club in Henryville that will host the event.

“Champions Pointe is a very difficult course,” Chalfant said. “The 18th hole is the most difficult hole I have ever seen. I think it will take a score of 72 to advance to the state.” 

Hagerstown, the Wayne County and Tri-Eastern Conference champions, did not have the day they hoped for, but head coach Evan Lanum was happy to see two of his golfers advance to the regional round. “This is a difficult course,” Lanum said. “Today the greens were really quick. We have had a good season but we came up a little short today. We are young and we have a bright future. We do have two players, Jacob Lieberman and Noah Searcy, moving on to the regional and we are excited for them.”

For Lieberman, a graduating senior, and Searcy, a rising sophomore, their goal for the regional is the same: to relax and have fun.

”Honestly, I just want to have fun,” Lieberman said. “I am not expecting to compete to win, I just want to enjoy the experience.”

Searcy echoed Lieberman’s sentiment.

“I feel the same way,” Searcy said. “I just want to have fun and see what I can shoot. In golf, you never know what will happen.” 

Jacob Lieberman follows the flight of his ball.

Final team standings

  • Connersville 341
  • Centerville 343 (Brady Moore 73, Braden Tedder 84, Riley Jaynes 102, Jayden Cornett 89, Boston Beatty 97)
  • Union County 347
  • Northeastern 348 (Hayden Chalfant 77, Brady Geis 92, Landon Helms 92, Landon Scarrette 87, Brandt Benjamin 108)
  • Hagerstown 349 (Noah Searcy 82, Collin Werking 89, Jacob Lieberman 82, Brock Senese 98, Drew Williamson 96)
  • Franklin County 361
  • Richmond 363 (Rylen Johnson 88, Tyler Hahn 98, Connor Chamberlain 86, Fred Mendenhall 105, Brody Mullins 91)
  • Oldenburg Academy 363, Rushville 384,
  • Cambridge City Lincoln 400 (Christian Davis 90, Braydon Munchel 115, Will Cameron 97, Gunner Newton 98, Daniel Bogue 115) 

The regional round was played on Thursday, June 6, at Champions Pointe Golf Club in Henryville. The results can be found in this week’s edition of the Western Wayne News.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 12 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Dan Harney is a sports reporter at the Western Wayne News.