By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
Western’s boys golf team has never won a sectional. And with this season’s sectional set for Rock Hollow G.C. in Peru, coach Steve Hoppes and his squad believe any team score under a 330 has a chance to bring home the hardware.
The Panthers appear to be in postseason form already, carding a 324 Saturday at Tipton Municipal G.C. to win the Howard-Tipton County tournament by 14 strokes over the host Blue Devils, who fired a 338.
Brennan Raines, golfing out of the No. 5 hole, fired a 77 to lead the Panthers, which boasted a balanced card. Tyler White added a 78, Ryan Rossi scored a 84 and Baylor Woolley chalked up an 85 to help Western bring home the title.
“We had a really good day,” Western coach Steve Hoppes said. “Brennan played extremely well. He had his best round of the year to date. With him at No. 5, that really shows us how deep we are. White did well, and we got a couple of other scores on the 80s — just an all-around good day. We like it when we have five or six players who can fo that. On any day, any of our kids can be the medalist. Anything under 330 at Rock Hollow can win a sectional, and we feel like we’re due to win one. Our kids are looking forward to that.”
Tanner Maxey carded a 76 to lead Tipton. Blake Hoover and Seth Grimme both added 86s while Jackson Tina carded an 89 for the Blue Devils.
“The Tipton [G.C.] staff did an excellent job of getting the course ready,” Tipton coach Ken Day said. “I would’ve like to have seen our scores a little lower. My goal was 320, but overall, we played some kids that didn’t have a lot of experience, so I’m proud of my kids. We did well. Western had four kids in the top 10 and we had three, so between those two teams we pretty much dominated the medal stand.”
Northwestern finished third at 341, while Tri-Central (367), Eastern (368) and Taylor (399) rounded out the field.
Northwestern’s Nathan Edwards scribbled in a one-over 72 to take medalist honors. He made the turn at 33 and carded a 39 on the back nine.
Drew Gill added an 83 for the Tigers, while Blaine Brutus shot a 92 and Parker Stroud a 94.
Jacob Benett shot an 87 to lead Tri-Central, followed by A.J. Tentler (91), Clay Smith (92) and Nick Blades (97).
Matt Wylie carded an 81 to pace Eastern. Andrew Kenner added a 94, Spencer Day a 95 and Isaac Hanny a 98.
Jack Lipchik’s 87 led Taylor. Gradon McFarland added a 99, while Fred Durham shot a 103 and Caleb Copp a 110.