JIM HUNSLEY: Local golf coaches adjust to new postseason format

2013-05-29T18:30:00Z 2013-05-29T19:31:16Z JIM HUNSLEY: Local golf coaches adjust to new postseason formatJim Hunsley Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 29, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Eight months ago, local golf coaches such as Crown Point's Jon Haas were hardly pleased with the new postseason tournament format.

At that time, Haas was coaching girls golf and each had to contemplate a regional trip to Battleground in West Lafayette — not LaPorte's Beechwood.

"It's a huge difference for accessibility for my players," Haas said last September about practice rounds. "It's an hour-plus drive, plus the time change. If our players left after school, I don't believe they can get a full round in.

"That's a huge disadvantage."

Instead of increasing their anger on the subject, he changed their schedules for the spring season and played at last Saturday's Lafayette Jeff Classic at Battleground — with quality results.

Crown Point won the tournament with a 299. The Bulldogs's Matthew Mudd and Mike Lee finished second and third, respectively, with matching 73s.

"Getting our swagger back before sectionals was important," Haas said. "Beating 20 other really good teams helped our confidence a lot."

Lake Central boys and girls coach Chris Rossiano was somewhat indifferent to the regional change, but his Indians joined the fray last weekend.

Lake Central's Matt Meneghetti was medalist with a 72, helping the Indians place third overall (312).

'It was a very competitive atmosphere with many very good teams," Rossiano said. "It was close to a simulated regional.

"The only road to the Legends (and the state finals) is through Battleground, so obviously the more rounds you can get there with the most pressure possible will help regionals."

I commend both coaches for seeing a possible problem and finding a quick fix. Complaining about something might give someone fleeting satisfaction, but making a change for the better is always a better solution.

Don't be surprised if more teams from the area show up at this regular-season event in the future.

As for this weekend, host Crown Point and Lake Central are probably the co-favorites at that sectional, but former sectional host Boone Grove could be a threat for the crown.

At Valparaiso, the Vikings might not need to worry about the new format. They shot a blistering 295 at the DAC Invite, a day after recording a program-record 140 in a DAC triangular. In Tuesday's "tuneup" for the sectional, Valparaiso shot a 299 against Highland with Bobby Jacobs coming in at even-par 70 at Forest Park, site of the sectional. Chesterton surprised several people — including me — with a a title win last season. I don't see that happening again.

Just like last fall, LaPorte now hosts a sectional, but Michigan City freshman Aaron Skibinski and his Wolves are the favorite.

Only time will tell about the effects of the regional site change.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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