FRANKLIN | Through 15 holes of play, Valparaiso boys golf coach Wayne Lichtenberger had a decent feeling about his team's chances of advancing to the championship round of the 75th annual IHSAA state finals.
Then the Vikings shot a combined 14-over the last three holes Tuesday to finish at 310 and missed the cut.
"We were playing really well on the back nine. ... The last three holes killed us," said Lichtenberger, whose team at one point was as low as 2-over-par on the back nine. "I just don't know what happened."
Columbus North shot a record 283 to take the lead. Zionsville and Huntington North tied for the ninth and final qualifying spot at 297.
On No. 16 alone, Valparaiso was 6-over.
"(No. 16) killed us last year also," said Lichtenberger, whose team was 3-over for two rounds at the hole last season. "I don't know if it's a mental thing."
Sophomore No. 1 golfer Bobby Jacobs finished with a 79, and that included a triple bogey on No.16, a double on No. 17 and a bogey on No. 18.
"Overall, I felt like I played well today," Jacobs said. "I had a couple of bad holes. (No. 18) is a tough hole, but (bogey) was not acceptable."
Sophomore Kyle Meihofer had three birdies on the back nine, and he stood at 2-under with one hole to play. His tee shot went out of bounds on the 18th, and then he three-putted for a triple bogey to finish with a 73.
"I just wanted to split the fairway to get a shot at the green," said Meihofer, who missed automatic individual qualification by a stroke. "I pulled it left and was out of bounds by a foot. I (then) just didn't get that up and down.
"This is still good experience for me. I just need to learn how to finish."
LaPorte senior Taalor Corley finished just two shots from an automatic berth with a 74. The Slicers also missed the cut, finishing 17th with a 313.
"I had a shot to advance (as an individual), but that's not why I was here," Corley said. "I think I played about as well as I could. I wanted to do this for the team.
"I didn't want to look at this as my last (prep) round of golf, because that would have put more pressure on me. I just took it as another day of golf. I'm going to still play golf for the rest of my life
In its first team appearance at state, Boone Grove coach Gary King was pleased with his team's performance. The Wolves finished with 14th with a 307.
"We had everything to gain and nothing to lose," King said.
The Wolves carded a 308, led by junior Drake Devereux's 75. Devereux got off to a great start and was 2-under after nine holes, then he pushed for a little more on the back nine.
"I tried to go even lower on the back," Devereux said. "I think I put a little more pressure on myself.
"I tried to stay within myself and still stay aggressive. That's a hard thing to do."