CARMEL — If Mitch Davis had it to do all over again, the Chesterton senior would've done the exact same thing on the 18th tee in the second round of the boys golf state finals Wednesday.
"I thought I crushed my tee shot," Davis said. "I knew I made a good swing."
Instead of having a clean look at his approach on the par-5 finishing hole at Prairie View Golf Club — where it turned out a bogey would have kept him in the hunt for the title — Davis had to take a penalty stroke for an unplayable ball and wound up with a round-killing triple-bogey 8. He finished with a 79 on the day and a 36-hole total of 3-over 147.
Davis finished tied for sixth and earned a medal by virtue of his top-10 finish.
Logan Ryan, a senior from Fort Worth Bishop Dwenger, won the title on the first playoff hole. He and Center Grove senior Noah Gillard were tied at 1-over after 36 holes.
"It's weird. My line was even further right in the practice round and it cleared," Davis said. "I hit a good tee shot. I thought I was lined up in a good spot. It just didn't have the carry."
Davis, the first-round leader at minus-4, held that score and a three-shot lead through 13 holes, stringing together 10 pars after his sole birdie of the round on No. 3 balanced out a bogey on No. 2, only to give seven shots back in the final five holes.
"I pretty much just lost the state championship with a 43 on the back nine," Davis said. "I'm usually pretty hard on myself, but it's one of those things where I can't be upset."
The demise began with a missed 6-footer for par on 14. Then, after missing left off the tee, his 5-footer for bogey on 15 lipped out. Next was a bogey on 16, where he couldn't get up and down from a bunker.
"I just didn't feel good over the ball all day," Davis said. "I wasn't thinking at all (about winning). I went out to try to shoot another 68. Being in the lead never crossed my mind. I just wanted to make every shot to the best of my ability. I made a goal to try to hit 18 greens and I hit maybe seven. From the second hole, I knew it was going to be a grind."
Davis had a chance to pump the brakes on the tailspin with a birdie on 17, but his putt slid right, sending him to the final hole even for the tournament.
"I was thinking, 1-, 2-under (could win)," Davis said. "It would've been nice to be 1-under, but it wasn't like I missed the putt (on 17) and was deflated. I was still super focused."
After Davis' razor-sharp first round, Trojans coach Jordan Nelson said the Indiana University recruit was "just a little off" in round 2.
"The course was set up pretty tough," Nelson said. "If he gets the birdie (on 17), it's a big changer. We weren't looking at the scoreboard. Our idea was just to play the way he did (Tuesday). Little things are the difference between a 68 and a 79. It's a little letdown for sure, but it was a solid round and a solid career. (Plus-3) is still an admirable score."
Michigan City sophomore Nick Gushrowski, whose round was interrupted by about a 90-minute weather delay, recovered from a pair of double bogeys to start his round to play 1-over for the remaining 16 holes.
He finished tied for 58th with a 20-over 164.
Gushrowski carded three birdies Wednesday, including on 17, where he put a 5-iron shot from a bunker onto the green, then drained a long birdie putt. He carded two birdies and two pars on his second (front) nine to close with a 36.
"State was a great experience," Gushrowski said. "I was able to really get to know the course in preparation for the possibility of making it there my junior and/or senior year. I am going to work my hardest to be back there next year and maybe even contend for the title."